The outreach program helps inmates as they prepare for transition back into their respective communities. The main purpose of the Outreach Program is to reduce recidivism and the criminogenic risk factors of the inmates in the Dakota County Jail. This is done by providing inmates resources that they can use upon release. Some of these resources include housing, employment assistance, financial aid and help with Child Support. Our hope is this will have a positive effect on our communities and families and ultimately reduce the financial burden on the residents and taxpayers of Dakota County.
Our programs offered include but are not limited to the following: GED/ABE, Parenting, Anger Management, Cognitive Thinking Skills, Bible Study, Worship Services, NA/AA meetings and Reformers Unanimous.
We have contracted classes which include Domestic Abuse Prevention, Personal and Professional Etiquette, Mission to Mobilization (a skills and goal setting program), Employment Readiness and College Success and Preparation.
Below you will find a list of our programs. Click on the program name to get a detailed description of that program.
The Jail Programs Department coordinates a community speaker program at the jail in which representatives from a variety of government departments, non-profits and for-profit organizations visit the jail on a monthly or bi-monthly basis, and rotate through the housing units and present to inmates about their services. The speakers facilitate discussion groups, promote their programs, and provide information to help inmates prepare for re-entry. Speakers included representatives from Transitional Conferencing, Visiting Incarcerated Parents - University of MN research program, Dakota County Child Support, Dakota County Workforce Center, Freedom Works Post-Prison Outreach, Restoration Counseling & Community Services (RCCS), Life Rebuilders, Teen Challenge, Goodwill Easter Seals - Father Project and Twin Cities Rise. Community speakers share a passion to help inmates in need, and to provide information about resources so that inmates could have a smoother transition out of the jail and back into their respective communities.
Although many individuals are currently in "the system", over 90% of those incarcerated in our prisons and jails will ultimately be released back into our communities. In order to promote public safety, it is vital to provide these individuals with comprehensive resources that will aid them in their transition so they are less likely to recidivate once released. The Resource Fair was designed to help inmates gain access to transitional opportunities before they are released from our facility. This will ensure that they have the tools necessary to become stable and self-sufficient upon release. At the resource fair, inmates will have the opportunity to engage with various providers that offer services for individuals with criminal records. Organizations invited to participate in this event range from universities, social service organizations, employment services, housing services, recreational services, and a variety of other community resources.
The Motivational Conference is a three-day event each February that was created to inspire and empower inmates to make different choices and stay out of jail in the future. The event consists of inspirational speakers, an ex-offender panel, and breakout sessions.
Guest speakers visit the jail and talk about perseverance and overcoming the odds. These speakers share their stories with inmates in hopes to inspire motivation to change. Some of the bigger names that the Dakota County Sheriff's Office has welcomed include Ray Edwards, Sheila Raye Charles, Jane Elliot, Buzz Schneider, Ron Linder, Coach Jerry Kill, and Andrew Zimmern.
The Dakota County Re-Entry Assistance Program (RAP) helps jail inmates with histories of multiple jail stays minimize the number of times they return to jail. The program provides transitional and supportive services that assist sentenced inmates exiting the Dakota County Jail with re-entry into the community. Community Corrections reviews the requests from jail inmates seeking help and conducts interviews to determine eligibility and identifies needs for inmates selected for the program. After an inmate is accepted, Community Corrections identifies and coordinates service needs, options and develops a re-entry case plan. This case plan is developed through inter-departmental collaboration and support from various agencies within the county and community.
The Dakota County Sheriff's Office maintains volunteer partnerships with a variety of organizations and schools including AmeriCorps VISTA, Ignation Volunteer Corps, Metropolitan State University, and St. Catherine's University. In addition, the jail also welcomes over 200 event volunteers each year. These event volunteers attend Jail Resource Fairs, the Motivational Conference, and provide resources to inmates. The volunteer base at the jail is extremely strong and helps the jail programs department increase its capabilities.