Reentry Services

Jennifer Herring, Director

The Director

Jennifer completed her bachelor’s degree from Texas Southern University in 2003, her master’s degree from the University of Houston in 2004 and obtained her licensing in social work also in 2004. Specializing in crisis intervention, Jennifer has managed a program for women and children on welfare, has provided case management services to severe and persistent mentally ill wards of the county through Harris County’s Guardianship Program, has provided crisis intervention and therapeutic services to children and adolescents in the North Forest Independent School District through Intra-Care Psychiatric Hospital, and has worked as a psych response team member for West Oaks Psychiatric Hospital’s Mobile Assessment Team.  Currently, she has established a private practice facilitating life-skills (anger management/conflict resolution, behavior management, personal development, self-care/self-esteem, parenting, gang prevention and intervention) for children and adolescents with behavioral issues through the courts of the Justice of the Peace; created and directed a behavior modification camp for children and adolescents with severe criminal histories; she also provides training and development to schools, agencies and organizations, teaching on topics such as Ethics, Dealing with Difficult People, Compassion Fatigue/Secondary Trauma, and Self-Care Practices. She was invited to become a part of the faculty at Texas Southern University and served as field liaison and visiting instructor for 8 years.

Most currently she serves as Director of Reentry Services for the Harris County Sheriff’s Office where she has created programs for human sex trafficking and prostitution, pregnant women, veterans, and substance abuse. She currently serves on the board for The Barbara Jordan Endeavors. She has published an article in the Journal of Family Strengths, Mentoring Moms: The critical health and safety needs of pregnant offenders in the Harris County Sheriff ’s Office reentry program. She has been highlighted in the New York Times, Texas Tribune, Houston Chronicle, UHD Magazine, Isiah Carey’s ISIAH FACTOR, Houston Public Media, KHOU, Fox News, Univision, Telemundo, BBVA and other local publications for the transformational work she has done in the Harris County Jail.

Bottom row left to right: Viviana Lopez, Administrative Assistant; Raunda Lindsey, RC, Program Coordinator; Jennifer Herring, MSW, Director.

Top row left to right: Willie Drew, Deputy/Operations; Heide Laser, RC, Case Manager.

Herman Ulmer, BSW, Program Manager

Deputy Willie Drew

Viviana Lopez, Clerk/Administrative Assistant

Reentry Services

Reentry Services was started in August 2013.  The 90 day, case management-based, in-reach/outreach programs were developed by Jennifer Herring, MSW. The programs are designed to target vulnerable populations of men and women incarcerated in the Harris County Jail.

Harris County Sheriff’s Office Reentry Services programs seek to connect, collaborate and build a continuum with strong community partners transitioning people back into their communities better than they were before they were incarcerated. The following is a description of our programs.

 

Program Goal

To provide inmates a 90-day strength-based program designed to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and assist inmates in becoming healthy productive members of society, using a holistic systems approach to transitioning inmates back into their communities.

 

Mentoring Moms Program

 Mentoring Moms is a 60-90 day holistic strength-based program designed to provide pregnant women with resources and support while incarcerated as well as providing a healthy transition for mother and child back into the community. Participants are screened, assessed and assigned to a case manager. They are linked to support groups, receive job skills training, life skills, and parenting and financial education. They receive advocacy through court liaisons, are connected with housing resources, and are provided with basic needs and medical services. Mental health, substance abuse, and spiritual services are available.

The following are the criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • Pregnant or post-partum up to three years
  • Incarcerated in the Harris County Jail
  • Medium level classification
  • 3G offenses and aggravated offenses will be evaluated on a case by case basis
  • No current/history of murder, sexual offenses, or abuse to child(ren)/elderly
  • Presents a need that Reentry can provide
  • Mentally and medically stable with the ability to participate in an 8 hour a day program
  • Express a desire to change and willingness to commit to the process of the program

 

The Freedom Project

The Freedom Project is a 60-90 day holistic strength-based jail in-reach/outreach program designed to provide substance abuse treatment through case-management, life skills classes, education, and groups. Participants are screened, assessed and assigned to a substance abuse counselor and/or case manager. They are linked to support groups, receive job skills training, workforce development, employment connections and advocacy through court liaisons. They are connected with housing resources and are provided with basic needs and medical services. Mental health, substance abuse, and spiritual services are available.

The following are the criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • History of substance abuse
  • Incarcerated in the Harris County Jail
  • Medium level classification
  • 3G offenses and aggravated offenses will be evaluated on a case by case basis
  • No current/history of murder, sexual offenses, or abuse to child(ren)/elderly
  • Presents a need that Reentry can provide
  • Mentally and medically stable with the ability to participate in an 8 hour a day program
  • Express a desire to change and willingness to commit to the process of the program

 

Stars and Stripes

This is a 60-90 day holistic strength-based program designed to provide veterans with resources and support while incarcerated as well as a healthy transition back into the community. Participants are screened, assessed and assigned to a case manager. They are linked to support groups, receive job skills training, workforce development, employment connections and advocacy through court liaisons. They are connected with housing resources and are provided with basic needs and medical services. Mental health, substance abuse, and spiritual services are available.

The following are the criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • Veteran (any discharge type)
  • Incarcerated in the Harris County Jail
  • Medium level classification
  • 3G offenses and aggravated offenses will be evaluated on a case by case basis
  • No current/history of murder, sexual offenses, or abuse to child(ren)/elderly
  • Presents a need that Reentry can provide
  • Mentally and medically stable with the ability to participate in an 8 hour a day program
  • Express a desire to change and willingness to commit to the process of the program

 

Project EVOL-VE

This is a 60-90 day program designed to assist prostitutes and victims of human sex trafficking by providing them with resources and support while incarcerated and to facilitate a healthy transition back into the community. Participants are screened, assessed and assigned to a case manager. They are linked to crisis intervention and support groups, receive job skills training, workforce development, employment connections and advocacy through court liaisons. They receive life skills, parenting, and financial education. They are connected with safe housing resources and are provided with basic needs and medical services. Mental health, substance abuse, and spiritual services are available.

The following are the criteria to be eligible for the program:

  • Participants must have a history of human sex trafficking or prostitution
  • Incarcerated in the Harris County Jail
  • Medium level classification
  • 3G offenses and aggravated offenses will be evaluated on a case by case basis
  • No current/history of murder, sexual offenses, or abuse to child(ren)/elderly
  • Presents a need that Reentry can provide
  • Mentally and medically stable with the ability to participate in an 8 hour a day program
  • Express a desire to change and willingness to commit to the process of the program

Gwen Bossett, LCDC, Program Coordinator

Tiffany Perriatt, MSW, RC, Case Manager

Heide Laser, RC, Case Manager

Shanti Scott-Peters, Case Manager

Carolina Larin, RC, Case Manager

Lauren Holleman, RC, Case Manager

Testimonials

Today marks my 18 month celebration of being clean and sober!!!! Glory be to God. CPS is giving me the green light to reunite me with my little girl. Anyone who has a CPS case don't be dismayed. God will make the way if you work for what you want. I am living proof.

LeeAnnah

Former Mentoring Mom's Client

In August I will mark my two-year anniversary of being home. I thank God that I was arrested and incarcerated because through that very difficult situation I found life. I found sobriety. I found God. I found myself and, in the process, I have become the mother I only dreamed I even could be. Thank you Mentoring Mom's.

Toni

Former Mentoring Mom's Client

I'm doing great. Being a mother to my kids for the first time in ... a minute! I left my 11-year abuser. I am going to therapy, going to meetings, and I am not looking back. Ever!! I was addicted to heroin and methadone for 23 years and I truly feel free from all that now. I haven't used dope, committed a crime, or let anyone abuse me for 16 months and for that I am truly grateful!

Becky

Former Mentoring Mom's Client

Creative Writing Program for Veterans

 

A creative writing class for veterans in the Reentry program started on Monday, October 23, 2017. The program is being provided by Inprint, a nationally recognized nonprofit organization dedicated to inspiring readers and writers. The program is spearheaded by Kaj Tanaka, a PhD fiction graduate student at the University of Houston Creative Writing Program (UH CWP) who has extensive experience teaching writing classes in prisons. His stories and essays have appeared in The Rumpus, Electric Literature, The Master's Review, New South, Big Lucks, and Midwestern Gothic. He is the nonfiction editor at Bull Magazine. Kaj will also serve as workshop instructor. The class will focus on writing poetry and at the end of the class, a compilation of the students' poetry will printed and distributed to each of the veterans in the program. The students will be asked to design the cover for the book.

Kaj Tanaka, PhD Fiction graduate student, teaching his first creative class to veterans in the Reentry Stars and Strips Program on Monday, October 23, 2017. (Photo by Jake Smith, Harris County Sheriff's Office Media Relations)

Veterans make up 8 to 10% of the incarcerated population.

Loretta Coonan, LCSW

Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

A 2007 Bureau of Justice Statistics study found 703,000 veterans are in corrections supervision.

Loretta Coonan, LCSW

Veterans Justice Outreach Coordinator, Michael E. DeBakey VA Medical Center

Ms. Coonan's information was presented in a PowerPoint at the Behavioral Mental Health Workshop hosted by the University of Texas Police at Houston and the Houston Behavioral Healthcare Hospital on Wednesday, November 8, 2017.

Warden Helena Smith (left) and Director Jennifer Herring.

Warden From Rikers Island Visits

 

Warden Helena Smith from Rikers Island in New York City visited the Harris County Jail's Reentry Services programs on Friday, November 3, 2017. Rikers Island is New York City's main jail complex. Director Jennifer Herring took Warden Smith on a tour of the various Reentry programs. Warden Smith was impressed with all the programs. She plans on first implementing a program for veterans similar to Stars and Stripes and then programs for female inmates.

The average daily inmate population of New York City Department of Correction (NYCD) is approximately 11,400 individuals. This is more than the population of many state correctional systems.

Most of the inmates in NYCD custody are housed on Rikers Island, which has 10 jails that together can house as many as 15,000 inmates at once. The Rikers facilities include a jail for sentenced males, another for sentenced and detainee females, and a detention center for adolescent males (ages 16 to 18). The seven other jails on the Island house adult male detainees. Other Island features include a bakery, central laundry, tailor shop, print shop, maintenance and transportation divisions, K-9 unit and a power plant.

In addition, the Department operates three borough jails, 16 court detention facilities and two hospital prison wards. The borough jails in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx have a combined capacity for approximately 3,000 detainees. The court pens are located in the Criminal, Supreme and Family Court buildings in each borough. In Manhattan, an additional court pen is operated in the special Narcotics Court. These courthouse facilities hold inmates scheduled for the day's proceedings. On a typical weekday, the Department logs more than 3,000 miles transporting inmates to courts in the five boroughs as well as to medical and other jail or prison facilities throughout the city and state.

Mr. Ivory Mayhorn

 

Ivory Mayhorn is the CEO and Founder of Launch Point Community Development Center, Inc., a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization. A community leader and advocate for better families and communities for over 30 years has formed the right team for community transformation. This is the Launch Point Team, the key to the success and drive for excellence by the organization. Operating as an administrative team of veteran executives of successful organizations and businesses, a wealth of knowledge and experience for transforming the lives of families and the communities is the foundation.

Since its inception, LPCDC administration has worked diligently to build and strengthen the organization’s coordination and partnerships with other local organizations and agencies. The organization has become known for providing specialized assistance with minority/disadvantaged individuals , students, youth and families over the past 15 years, specifically in workforce training and development in health care careers with underrepresented groups in the communities served by the project. The vision for Launch Point is to reverse cycles of community deprivation, incarceration, impoverishment, and illiteracy by providing supportive resources, training, services and opportunities to the Harris County area youth, families, and communities.

Mr. Mayhorn volunteers to speak and work with inmates in the Reentry Program.

Mr. Ivory Mayhorn

(left to right) Case Manager Raunda Lindsey, Case Manager Carolina Larin, Mr. Joseph Dowell, Case Manager Gwen Bossett.

Reentry Program Helps Inmate Get His Life Back - Only to Lose it During Hurricane Harvey

 

Joseph Dowell was the speaker at a graduation ceremony to honor those who had finished a re-entry program sponsored by the Houston Health Department. But he first thanked the women from the Freedom Project, another re-entry program for those serving sentences at the Harris County Jail. Dowell asked the women to stand, as those around them applauded. They smiled at Dowell, who they knew had come a long way. "These ladies had faith in me, when I didn't have faith in myself," he said.

The Freedom Project helped Dowell finally come to terms with his past: parents who suffered from addiction, abuse in Child Protective Services custody and not being there when his 6-year-old son, Jamal, was killed in a drive-by shooting. "It's not going to be easy," Dowell said of the journey ahead. The statistics bear that out: More than 40 percent of offenders are re-arrested within five years of being released, according to data from 2005 to 2010 from the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The journey started going well. After leaving the Harris County Jail Joseph found employment as a temporary employee in the public works fleet department. He was on his way into work during the height of Harvey when his route started to flood, according to family members. Mr. Dowell tried searching for an alternate route but tragically drowned.

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Statistics - October 2017

Contact Us About Our Reentry Servces

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Jennifer Herring, Director

Reentry Services

Bureau of Mental Health and Jail Diversion