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Posted By Emre Umar

            Reassembling the fragments of a life shattered from incarceration is no easy feat. Alone, it is an absolute horror, rivaling that of prison itself. For the mentally ill, reentry is unimaginably worse. In New York, there are programs in place that do all they can to aid in making this transition as smooth as possible. The Center for Urban Community Services (CUCS) is one such organization. CUCS offers two Reentry Coordination Systems (RCS) for the recently released – reentry for New York State Prisons and reentry for New York City Jails – both of which deal specifically with the care of the mentally ill.

            Both programs, administered for the New York State Office of Mental Health and the New York State Office of Mental Health and the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene respectively, are designed to aid initially with housing for the released prisoner. RCS for State Prisons manages access to supportive housing units, while RCS for Jails will facilitate referrals to housing units. Both will coordinate video teleconference interviews, and RCS for State Prisons will arrange video teleconference interviews and  ACT services, while RCS for Jails will act as a referral party for these services. RCS for State Prisons goes a step further, facilitating outpatient treatments for those with mental health problems and providing coordination for entitlements of those individuals.  All outcomes are trackable, and training is provided by RCS for New York State Pre-release staff and New York City Discharge Planners on post-reentry services.

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