For more than 30 years Centerforce has been a national leader in providing groundbreaking, evidence-based programs to incarcerated people and their loved-ones. In fact, Centerforce is one of few agencies in the U.S. to offer a continuum of services for individuals and families during incarceration, reentry and after release.
Today Centerforce is headquartered in San Quentin and provides direct services to 20,340 individuals in Santa Rita Jail and four state prisons. In addition, Centerforce provides direct services to communities and families of the incarcerated in Oakland, San Francisco, the Bay Area Counties, and Fresno and Madera Counties.
Centerforce specializes in providing health and family supportive services to incarcerated men and women and those reentering their communities of origin after incarceration. Centerforce has a particular specialty in delivering services that address health education and HIV/Hepatitis C prevention; family and relationship building; and, comprehensive case management
HEALTH EDUCATION: HIV & HEPATITIS C PREVENTION
Bay Area Network for Positive Health (BANPH).
This program is under the leadership of San Francisco State University, Health Inequities Institute for Research, Practice, and Policy. Centerforce participates in collaboration with more than 10 HIV Service Organizations throughout the Bay Area.
The goal of BANPH is to link HIV infected individuals who are not currently receiving medical care to a health-care provider. To-date, Centerforce has reached over 200 individuals with transitional case management services supporting this health care linkage for men infected with HIV leaving San Quentin State Prison and the California Medical Facility and returning to the counties of Alameda and San Francisco. (read more)
Healthy Relationships (HR). HR is a small-group intervention program for people living with HIV/AIDS who are currently incarcerated. The goal of HR is to develop skills, decrease stress, build self confidence, create realistic expectations and improve decision making regarding disclosure of the HIV status to potential partners, family and friends. Improvement in these areas promote responsible and healthy relationships, and a reduction in behaviors which are likely to lead to HIV transmission. To-date HR has served over 100 men and women who are incarcerated at California Medical Facility and Central California Women’s Facility.
Hepatitis C Peer-Based Health Education Program (PHEP)
Centerforce’s longest running program, PHEP currently operates at three institutions: San Quentin State Prison, the Central California Women’s Facility, and Valley State Prison.
The program focuses on the development of educational materials, presentations, trainings, videos and support group guides around peer-based health education models for hepatitis C prevention and management in prison settings. The peer educators coordinate workshops, provide one-on-one outreach and support, and make presentations in various prison departments and at prison-wide health events on Hepatitis.
The PHEP program was started in 1989 to train peer educators and mobilize them to raise awareness, provide education and serve as resources on a variety of health issues, including HIV/AIDS, STDs and substance abuse prevention. Since 2009, PHEP has been funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Viral Hepatitis, for the purpose of developing, testing, implementing and sharing hepatitis materials for prison settings. To-date the program has trained 370 peer educators; provided classes to 31,000 people; one-one or small group outreach to 67,000 people and performed over 57,000 screenings. (read more)
FAMILY AND RELATIONSHIP BUILDING
Centerforce Youth Court (CYC)
CYC offers youth offenders a second chance through restorative justice, peer accountability and empowering opportunities. We engage all youth, especially those at risk of entering the juvenile justice system, in empowering experiences related to law and justice with the aim of changing young lives and impacting communities.
Police, probation officers and schools can divert first-time youth offenders away from the juvenile justice system and into Centerforce Youth Court. Referring them to us gives kids a chance to make legal amends and erase their records. Here, youth are represented, counseled, prosecuted and sentenced by their peers: teen volunteers. The judge is a supportive volunteer adult from the community. Our restorative justice approach is legally binding and offers a life-changing path.
Restorative justice teaches youth how their actions affect others, brings them face-to-face with victims and guides them in taking action to make things right, in restoring justice and reconnecting them to the community. Unlike a stay in juvenile hall, after which 65% of youth re-offend, the Centerforce Youth Court approach keeps more than 90% of youth from re-offending the next year. (read more)
Maximizing Opportunities for Mothers to Succeed (M.O.M.S.)
In January 2011, Centerforce received the contract from the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department ,and Behavioral Health Care Services in collaboration with the Oakland Housing Authority to provide the case management services for the M.O.M.S. program at the Santa Rita County Jail. The M.O.M.S. program is an innovative program designed to reduce recidivism of (pregnant and parenting) women, reunited incarcerated mothers with their children, improve the health and well being of the family and its member, and to break the multigenerational recidivism cycle.
The collaborative project combines intensive education, individual and group support, housing assistance, substance abuse counseling, therapeutic play groups child development and child counseling, and other services during and after incarceration, by utilizing a wide range of in-custody training and education programs, community-based post-release services, cooperative post release housing, and eighteen months of ongoing post release case management. The MOMS Program is comprised of both an eight-week, in-custody parenting program and a post-release case management for up to one year, including services, alumni groups and limited transitional housing. The program targets pregnant/parenting mothers during and after their incarceration and has reached 250 MOMS to-date. (read more)
Back to Family Pilot Program (BTF)
BTF works with currently incarcerated and recently release fathers to strengthen their relationships with their children. Specifically the project provides a wide range of services for fathers and their children in addition to reducing systematic barriers that will in turn help to increase communication and visitation between fathers and their children while fathers are incarcerated and increase responsible fatherhood activities after release. The pilot is a partnership with Alameda County Probation Department, Alameda county Department of Child Support Services and Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. The program offers a variety of services including father focused parenting groups, visitation support, facilitated family playgroups in the community, support groups for caregivers, and service navigation to provide a comprehensive approach to help incarcerated fathers build and sustain healthier connections to their children to help reduce systematic program and policy barriers that have previously impeded the development of these relationships.
COMPREHENSIVE CASE MANAGEMENT
Project Start is a 6-session individual-level intervention for people soon to be released from prison. It incorporates features of prevention, case management, motivational interviewing, and incremental risk reduction.
Focusing on the provision of HIV, STD, and Hepatitis education and skills training as well as the development of self-identified risk-reduction goals, the program also determines individual reentry needs and provides referrals for housing, employment, finances, substance abuse, mental health treatment, and legal issues.
Centerforce was one of four research sites funded in 1999 by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to develop and pilot-test an HIV prevention intervention for young men leaving incarcerated settings. When the trial findings showed that Project START was effective at reducing the HIV-related risk behaviors among this population, Centerforce was chosen to lead a team to “package” the program for nationwide replication. Today, START is the only corrections-based Effective Behavioral Intervention (EBI) designated and funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for use across the United States.
Project START is funded by the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Prevention Program Branch. Centerforce provides the program at San Quentin State Prison, Central California Women’s Facility, and Valley State Prison. To-date, Project START has reached 250 individuals. (read more)
Safe Transitions is a one year program designed to identify and document strategies for engaging African American men returning from incarceration into mental health care. Centerforce has many years of experience providing similar transitional case management and linkage to care systems in its 30 years of program delivery. We will use this current model of in-prison recruitment and screening, and development of case management and care objectives that follow the client through their transition back into the community. Safe Transitions currently provides outreach, assessment , transitional case management and linkage to services for African American men who have experienced trauma, depression and anxiety, leaving San Quentin State Prison and returning to Alameda County. A final report and toolkit will be developed and published.