Frequently Asked Questions about Maricopa Reentry Center

Maricopa Reentry Cener

*** On September 8, 2016, ADC announced that it would no longer transfer sex offenders to the MRC who have been released from prison without housing.***

What is the purpose of the Maricopa Reentry Center?

The fundamental purpose of the Maricopa Reentry Center (MRC) is to facilitate the successful re-integration of offenders into the community following incarceration. 

The Pima Reentry Center (PRC) and MRC were established to assist individuals who have been recently released from prison to successfully complete their period of community supervision by providing critical programs and services. Services include outpatient substance abuse treatment; residential substance abuse treatment; cognitive restructuring classes; assistance in finding employment; life skills classes; sanctions; day reporting; and temporary housing – not to exceed 90 days – for released individuals who have not yet secured permanent housing and would otherwise be living on the streets.

State and community-based organizations/partners also offer on-site programming for those on community supervision. For instance, the Arizona Department of Economic Security has staff at the facility to assist released individuals with employment searches.

The centers provide structure, supervision, and surveillance of offenders who are in technical violation of their conditions of supervised release and/or who are in need of additional structured support in order to successfully complete community supervision, rather than automatically returning them to prison.

Why was the location chosen?

The property where the MRC is located is geographically isolated from residential and business areas. The combination of the I-17 freeway, city landfill, and mountains create a considerable buffer. The nearest home or school is at least one mile driving distance from the MRC and not within line of sight of the center. In a major city the size of Phoenix, such a buffered location is a unique situation.

In addition to its isolation from residential neighborhoods and schools, the property already housed a secure correctional facility that has been in operation since the early 1970s. The recent decline in its juvenile inmate population had left many of the buildings vacant. Repurposing a part of the existing Adobe Mountain facility to support the state’s reentry services and goals was a fiscally sound decision.

What is the current overall population at the MRC?

Below is a link to ADC’s “Inmate Daily Count Sheet.”  The Maricopa Reentry Center data can be seen on page two of the report, under “Community Supervision Offenders.”

https://corrections.az.gov/capacity-custody-level/2016/11

How many offenders will be at the Maricopa Reentry Center?

The Department of Corrections is currently authorized to temporarily house up to 100 released offenders at this facility. However, the Department will only place offenders there as needed and has no goal to fill all of the beds.

What types of offenders are at the Maricopa Reentry Center?

Offenders placed at the MRC must be currently active on community supervision status with ADC.

Inmates convicted under Arizona’s truth-in-sentencing statutes are eligible for release to community supervision status once they have served at least 85 percent of their court-ordered prison sentence.

These released offenders are required to report regularly to an assigned Community Corrections Officer (CCO) and abide by their terms of community supervision.

Their past crimes can be any felony crimes that result in a prison sentence, except sexual offences (on September 8, 2016, ADC announced that it would no longer place sex offenders in the MRC).

What types of programs are at the Maricopa Reentry Center?

The Maricopa Reentry Center offers a variety of programs for released offenders.

Sanctions

  • This program is utilized as an intervention technique with offenders who are violating the technical terms of their supervision status but who are not committing new crimes or presenting a danger to the public. These offenders are sent to MRC for brief stays (typically 2-3 days) during which they are restricted to the facility. They are only allowed to leave to attend a verified job. While they are in the sanctions program, they attend classes and complete assignments designed to help them rethink their decision making processes.

Day Reporting

  • This program consists of a wide variety of classes and services which offenders on community supervision participate. This includes job placement services, life skills classes, 12 Step groups, Celebrate Recovery groups, cognitive restructuring classes, Moral Reconation therapy, and spiritual services.

Intensive Treatment with Housing

  • This is a cognitive based, 90-day substance abuse treatment program. Offenders in this program work with licensed counselors and paraprofessionals to address their substance abuse problems and successfully reintegrate back into society. Curriculum for this program includes materials from Hazelden, the Change Companies, and The University of Cincinnati. Emphasis is placed on personal agency, increasing coping skills, eliminating dysfunctional decision making, learning prosocial ways to spend “free” time, addressing thinking errors, and relapse prevention.

Without Placement

  • This is a structured program which can last up to 30, 60, or 90 days. Offenders in this program do not have permanent housing placement and would otherwise be living on the streets.  Through this program, individuals obtain any documents necessary for their employment, receive assistance seeking and obtaining employment, save money, and secure permanent housing.

ADC staff, embedded Department of Economic Security staff, and a variety of volunteer agencies work with the offender to accomplish these goals.

Offenders are encouraged to seek jobs in the locations where they intend to permanently reside, which can be anywhere in Maricopa County. As soon as an offender is able to obtain permanent housing, they are discharged from the program.

How can I volunteer at the Maricopa Reentry Center?

If you would like to volunteer your services, please email MRCinfo [at] azcorrections.gov.  You will be joining several others including volunteers from Celebrate Recovery, Hope Lives!, Alongside Ministries, and 12 Step organizations.

What does a “typical” day look like at the Maricopa Reentry Center?

The typical days vary by program type.

Individuals who are in the Intensive Treatment program are restricted to the facility during their first 30 days in the program. This is designed to have them focus on their challenges without being distracted by outside influences. After 30 days, they may obtain passes for a few hours at a time, depending on their progress in the program and to address outside matters. Throughout the program, their typical day consists of attending group counseling sessions, psycho-educational classes, and peer groups. They have assigned chores to complete at the MRC.

Those who are in the Sanctions program are restricted to the facility except to attend a verified job. During their stay they complete homework assignments assigned to them by their Community Corrections Officer and attend classes. They are not allowed to watch television or use computers.

Are there sex offenders staying at the Maricopa Reentry Center?

On September 8, 2016, ADC announced that it would no longer transfer sex offenders to the MRC who have been released from prison without housing.

Some of the individuals temporarily residing at the MRC, and who arrived prior to September 8, are homeless sex offenders participating in the Without Housing program. The Department is working expeditiously to secure alternative housing for these individuals. Any sex offender at the center is required to wear an electronic monitoring unit at all times that is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Why did ADC make the change to no longer place sex offenders at the MRC?

For several weeks, ADC has been in communication with residents in the area who have voiced concerns over the temporary housing of released sex offenders at the MRC.

In announcing his decision on September 8 that the Department would no longer transfer released sex offenders to the Reentry Center, ADC Director Charles Ryan noted his appreciation of the communication we’ve received from the community, and he acknowledged that ADC has listened.

ADC believes that taking these actions is a balanced approach that allows it to address the main concerns raised by the community and still enhances public safety.

Our goal is to continue working in conjunction with the community and to keep an open dialogue.

Where will homeless sex offenders be housed, if not at MRC?

ADC is working expeditiously to identify alternative temporary housing options for released sex offenders it supervises that are without housing placement.

Prior to their release from prison, we work to help sex offenders secure their post-release housing. For those released without having secured housing, we will exhaust every possibility to assist them; however, it is ultimately the offender’s responsibility.

Will the MRC remain open?

Yes. While ADC will no longer place homeless sex offenders at the MRC, the center will continue to carry out its fundamental mission of providing critical programs and services to released offenders to help them successfully re-integrate into society. We believe that MRC serves as a way to help reduce recidivism, enhancing public safety, and can be an important tool to help reduce prison growth.

What are “Exclusion Zones?”

ADC has established numerous “exclusion zones” where any sex offender temporarily housed at the center is prohibited from entering a specific area in the nearby community. These zones currently include all schools within a 3-mile radius of the MRC. Exclusion zones cover the perimeter of the excluded area. Of note, the closest school is more than one mile away from the MRC.

Typically, exclusion zones include only those schools immediately adjacent to where an offender resides. However, for the MRC, we proactively expanded zones in the area to ALL schools within a 3-mile radius of the MRC. Additional areas, including the Beuf Community Center, Wet and Wild Waterpark, and sports complexes have been designated exclusion zones. After meeting with representatives from the community, ADC is working with community members to identify and include day care centers in the exclusion zones.

If a monitored individual enters a designated exclusion zone, the Community Correction Officer (CCO) is immediately electronically notified. The CCO will then review the tracking information to verify whether the offender actually entered the prohibited area or was, for instance, driving by on a major road heading from one place to another. If determined that a monitored person had indeed entered a prohibited property, the CCO will immediately contact the offender by mobile phone and/or by “pinging” the monitoring device. Pinging instructs the offender to immediately contact his CCO, who will order him to immediately leave the area. If attempts to contact are unsuccessful, the CCO will go into the field to locate the offender. MRC staff will also contact the Phoenix Police Department’s crime stop number. If the offender cannot be located, an arrest warrant will be issued.

What steps has ADC taken to protect the public in the areas around the Maricopa Reentry Center?

The Arizona Department of Corrections is committed to public safety and believes in safer communities through effective corrections.  At the MRC, the Department has taken several steps to ensure public safety.

All offenders who are temporarily residing at the MRC have a curfew. That curfew is between 4:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m., depending on their status in their program and how they are performing.

All offenders at the MRC are encouraged to leave the facility only if they have specific business to conduct, such as a job, employment search, or medical appointment.

All offenders are educated by MRC staff on what it means to be a good neighbor and are required to sign a “good neighbor agreement” upon entry to the facility. This agreement covers such topics as loitering, limiting movement in the surrounding area, and proper behavior, etc.

On September 8, 2016, ADC announced that it would no longer transfer sex offenders to the MRC who have been released from prison without housing.

How was the public notified?

The Arizona Department of Corrections has been forthcoming and transparent throughout the public process to establish the MRC. 

The center was proposed in the Governor’s State of the State address in January 2016.

During the legislative session, ADC officials testified before the Legislature on numerous occasions regarding plans for the center and used aerial photos to show the proposed location. 

In February 2016, TV station ABC 15 aired a news story on the center, highlighting its proposed location. View that report here:

https://youtu.be/4aUXh4wzrRI

In order to foster an open and transparent notification process, the Department provided notices consistent with the statutory notices required to be given to the county and city governing bodies and the affected school district, as set forth in A.R.S. § 41-1613.

While a public hearing was not required for the repurposing of the existing Adobe Mountain juvenile corrections facility, the Department held a hearing on May 24, 2016.

ADC provided notices to the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors, the City of Phoenix, and the Deer Valley Unified School District Board, as well as placed a formal Notice of Hearing in the Arizona Republic on May 20 and again on May 22.

The Department also provided advance notice to the State Senate President; House Speaker; Senate Minority Leader; House Minority Leader; and the legislative district’s delegation members.

Was the MRC’s location and temporary placement of homeless offenders discussed openly?

Yes, the Arizona Department of Corrections has been forthcoming and transparent throughout the public process to establish the MRC.  ADC officials, including Director Charles Ryan, testified several times before the state legislature regarding intentions for a community corrections center in Maricopa County, including the temporary placement of offenders at the facility, and aerial photos were used in discussion of the proposed location at Adobe Mountain.

A video, available on YouTube (below) highlights moments in Director Ryan’s testimony during three hearings in early 2016 (January 27, February 2 & 3) regarding the proposed location of a community corrections center in Maricopa County and its mission to facilitate the successful re-integration of offenders, including those that are homeless, following incarceration. 


https://youtu.be/_2PuqgOqDeY

Below are links where you can view each of those three hearings in their entirety, as well as download copies of ADC’s PowerPoint presentation made at each hearing.

Senate Public Safety, Military and Technology Committee Hearing, January 27, 2016
PowerPoint presentation: https://corrections.az.gov/sites/default/files/presentations/public-safety-committee-2016-final_01-27-2016.ppt
Video: http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=26&clip_id=16486
*Discussion of community corrections centers begins around 40:00.

Senate Appropriations Hearing, February 2, 2016
PowerPoint presentation: https://corrections.az.gov/sites/default/files/presentations/approps-senate-2016-final_02-02-2016.ppt
Video: http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=26&clip_id=16585
*JLBC begins discussion of community corrections centers around 22:10; Director Ryan around 42:15.

House Appropriations Hearing, February 3, 2016
PowerPoint presentation: https://corrections.az.gov/sites/default/files/presentations/approps-house-2016-final_02-03-2016.ppt
Video: http://azleg.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=26&clip_id=16616 
*Director Ryan begins discussion of community corrections centers around 5:15:00.

Where can I get more information about the Maricopa Reentry Center?

Please send an email to MRCinfo [at] azcorrections.gov

What are factors in the risk assessment of offenders?

The Arizona Department of Corrections, Community Corrections Bureau has been transitioning to what is called “evidence-based practices” or EBP in the supervision of its offenders over the past decade.  The cornerstone of its EBP effort is to use a validated Risk/Needs Assessment to identify which offenders are most likely to reoffend and are most in need of programming, and then tailor their supervision strategy accordingly. The Community Corrections Bureau uses the Arizona Community Corrections Assessment Tool (ACCAT) as its Risk/Needs Assessment Tool. The ACCAT has been recently validated to the Arizona Community Corrections population through a validation process by the University of Cincinnati (2015).

The tool itself is a twenty-three question instrument divided across three domains: 1) General Need, 2) Attitude and, 3) Criminal Behavior. Based upon the cumulative score of the assessment, a risk level is established and criminogenic needs are identified. The Risk Score identifies offenders who are a high risk to reoffend and therefore in need of intensive treatment. The Need Score identifies which criminogenic factors need to be addressed to reduce criminal behavior. Factors such as education, substance abuse, family/social relationships, and mental health, for example, are identified and based upon the severity of need; a treatment plan is developed to address those specific issues.    

The ACCAT is administered to every offender placed on community supervision. The assessment is administered by the supervising officer during an interview process with the offender thirty days after their release from prison. 

Based upon the offenders overall score on the ACCAT, a Risk Level is established. The Risk Levels and their corresponding minimum contact requirements are listed below.

Minimum Supervision - mandates one face-to-face contact per quarter (every 3 months) and one additional contact per month for each offender. Additional contacts for minimums may include any collateral contact or offender contact.

Medium Supervision - mandates one face-to-face contact per month and one collateral contact per month for each offender.

Maximum Supervision - mandates two face-to-face contacts per month and one collateral contact per month for each offender.

Intensive Supervision - mandates one weekly face-to-face contact and two collateral contacts per month for each offender.

Are offenders in the Without Placement program allowed to leave the MRC during the day?

Upon arrival to the facility the offenders complete an intake interview with a case worker. During the intake interview, case workers establish an itinerary for the offender. The itinerary is valid for one week and then the offender must report each week to have a new itinerary completed and reviewed with the case manager. If changes are necessary, the offender must make arrangements to meet with one of the case managers. On the itinerary, the case manager enters any appointments or tasks that the offender is required to complete for that week. Once discussed, itineraries are then finalized and approved.

All offenders start at Maricopa Reentry Center with a 4:00 p.m. curfew unless they are employed upon arrival. If employed, case managers work their curfew around an offender’s employment schedule.  As an offender progresses through the different stages of the program by earning points for completing tasks and taking classes, their curfew may be extended. The latest curfew allowed is 8:00 p.m., unless their job requires a different curfew. There is an expectation that offenders are going to be completing tasks related to successful re-entry. This includes obtaining their ID, working/looking for work, obtaining their own residence and taking part in pro-social behavior.

Can a Without Placement offender leave to go to a restaurant, shop, or movie?

Yes, provided that the offender has completed their required tasks per their itinerary and they arrive back at MRC by the assigned curfew time.  Offenders are no longer inmates, they are encouraged to engage in pro-social activities within society to normalize interactions and acclimate to a community.

What types of offenders report to their Community Corrections Officers at the MRC?

The population of the Black Canyon Regional Parole Office, that is located at the MRC, is 716. This is the population as of 9/26/2016 and the population will change on a daily basis as new offenders enter onto community supervision and other offenders complete supervision. This population is as follows:

(207) MIMIMUM – pose a Low risk to reoffend, requires one face to face contact within a 90-day period, phone contact monthly, collaterals as needed.

(460) MEDIUM – pose a Medium-Low risk to reoffend, requires at least one face-to-face contact which may be in the office or in the field, along with collateral contact.

(47) MAXIMUM – pose a Medium-High risk to reoffend, requires at least two face-to-face contacts per month, usually one in the office and one in the field, as well as collateral contacts.

(3) INTENSIVE – pose the highest risk to reoffend, must be seen at least one time per week, face-to-face and have additional contacts with collateral persons (like a sponsor, treatment persons, employers).

Offenders report to the center for various reasons. They may be scheduled to meet with their officer as part of the regular contact standards. The offender may have experienced problems that they need to discuss with their officer. Newly released offenders must report to the office for their initial intake. Offenders may have been summoned to the office to discuss violations, interventions, issues, and more. The average number of offenders reporting in to MRC to meet with their Community Corrections Officer is 30 per day.

Not all offenders report to the Black Canyon Office (BCR) located at the MRC. Community Corrections Officers are encouraged to take their computers and phones and visit offenders in their homes and at their employment locations. Some offenders do not have transportation or may live in very rural areas and PO’s visit their home instead.

Why have offenders report at the MRC instead of somewhere else?

Community Corrections Officers (CCOs) are required to fulfill various duties each week. Some of the duties require covering intake duties and manage cases as needed. Case management includes completion of paperwork, filing, warrant writing and returning phone calls. For offenders, part of reintegration into society involves the gaining of responsibility on their part, which includes making and keeping appointments, fulfilling obligations and being responsible for themselves. CCO’s will split the responsibility with the offender by having them report to the office occasionally and meeting them at their residence on other occasions. Additionally, the area that is supervised by BCR starts at Camelback at the south, Black Canyon City to the north, Wickenburg in the west and all the way to Fountain Hills in the east.

It was prudent to place a Community Corrections Office at the MRC to be efficient in our delivery of services to the offenders that reside in that very large supervision area. It is modeled after the existing Mesa Parole Office. The Mesa location is approximately 20 miles away from our main Community Corrections Administration, located at 801 S. 16Th St., near the Sky Harbor Airport. The MRC and BCR Office is located central to the area of supervision, and 25 miles from the main Administration. By using the MRC as a co-located Community Corrections Office, ADC is acting in a responsible, efficient and cost effective manner by reducing drive times for parole officers to reach offender residences, reducing the risk of missed appointments due to distance or time constraints, and providing additional staff on-site at the MRC as a means to increase supervision and oversight of the residents and facility.

What are the success rates of Pima Reentry Center?

The Pima Reentry Center became operational in December 2012.  The following charts show an accounting of the offender population from FY 2012-2016.


The chart above reflects the types of program participants at the PRC and whether or not they successfully completed the program.


The chart above reflects the percentage of warrants issued for new crimes in Pima County as a percentage of overall warrants issued in Pima County. As illustrated, both the percentage rate and actual number of warrants issued for new crimes have decreased since opening the PRC.


The chart above illustrates the number of new crime warrants issued for offenders while they were actively participating in the Without Placement, Sanctions, or Intensive Treatment with Housing Programs at the PRC.


The chart above reflects the 25,180 days that offenders participating in either the Sanctions or Intensive Treatment with Housing Programs spent at the PRC. Without the alternative of the PRC, these offenders would have had their community supervision revoked and been sent back to prison to await a hearing by the Board of Executive Clemency.

The FY 2018 Budget Request includes a request for 2,000 new beds by FY 2020. These beds will cost approximately $65.00 per inmate per day or $47.5M annually. The State can’t afford to continually add new prison beds to accommodate an ever-growing inmate population.  The 25,180 bed days avoided by sending offenders to the Pima Reentry Center directly translates to fewer beds utilized in the prison system. ADC is focusing efforts to reduce the number of people returning to Arizona’s prisons. Many of those in Arizona prisons, 49.2 percent, have served a prior prison term in ADC. Almost 40 percent of inmates released from prison return within three years, either for a technical violation of the terms of their supervision or due to a new felony conviction. Community reentry centers are intended to provide options to community corrections officers to keep offenders in the community rather than sending them back to prison. In addition, community corrections centers provide targeted programming and services to those most in need.

The cost of a community corrections center is comparable to that of a prison unit. However, the centers are able to serve a much broader population due to the short amount of time each offender is at the center. More importantly, after a short stay at a community corrections center, offenders can return home and continue their supervision in the community. When appropriate, supervising offenders in the community is a much more fiscally viable alternative than prison. During FY 2015 the cost of community supervision was approximately $9 per offender/day. Keeping offenders that commit technical violations in the community rather than returning them to prison is an important first step toward slowing the growth of the inmate population, reducing the need for new prison beds, and avoiding the costly investment in new prison beds.

Do offenders at the reentry center have vehicles available to use in seeking jobs or for personal use during the day or does ADC have a shuttle service for them? How many rely on walking/public transportation to get to their destination?

Yes, some have a vehicle. Those that do not have a car utilize bus transportation (ADC provides offenders with bus passes), car services (such as Uber and Lyft), bicycles, and some may walk.

While I can appreciate the purpose for this type of program, what resources have been put in place to make it as successful as possible?

The MRC was established to mirror the programming and services that have been in operation at the Pima Reentry Center since 2012.

Those include job skills development, job seeking assistance, cognitive restructuring classes, addiction treatment, peer mentoring services, life skills classes, and more.

Currently at the MRC, ADC is partnering with a variety of agencies and community partners to provide programming and services to offenders. These organizations include:

  • Department of Economic Security
  • Hope Lives!
  • Alongside Ministries
  • Celebrate Recovery
  • A community volunteer with a therapy dog
  • Correctional Healthcare Companies (CHC) delivers contracted treatment

Currently in the works:

  • AZ Common Ground
  • St. Mary’s Food Bank - job training program
  • Family Services Agency
  • Volunteer Chaplain
How many mistakes (reports of loitering/disturbances) do they get before being sent back?

If the offender commits a new crime, they are automatically returned to prison.

Otherwise, such decisions are made on a case by case basis by the offender’s community corrections officer and by reentry facility staff. Factors taken into consideration include the gravity of the behavior, the offender’s overall behavior and participation in the program, and the offender’s risk level and past behavior.

Are drug and alcohol tests administered daily?

No. For drug and alcohol testing, Community Corrections contracts with a drug testing service, TASC, that tests offenders on a random basis or, if drug or alcohol usage is suspected, additional tests can be ordered by the supervising officer.