Frequently Asked Questions

Admission

How does an inmate apply to the "Grace House" program?

All referrals must be made through thew New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Individuals who are currently incarcerated who are interested in participating in the program should contact facility DOCCS representatives to request that their case be reviewed by DOCCS for possible referral to “Grace House.” Parolees currently in the community should speak with their assigned Field Parole Officer to request a referral to “Grace House.”

Adjustment Timeline

Resident Program Adjustment Time Line

NOTE: The information here represents typical client profile subject to change based on criminal history.

Initial 24 to 72 hours after arrival:

Initial parole report made to New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision. Parolee signs in and is made aware of special conditions or movement restrictions. Parolee is told when to make first report to assigned field Parole Officer. Parolee told to report directly to “Grace House.” Provided with map and directions to “Grace House.” Info sheet has taxi phone number, fare and bus route information.

Note: New York State Department of Corrections provides bus transportation to the Bus station in downtown Buffalo. Inmate released with a minimum of $40.00.

Arrival at “Grace House”

Introduced to facility caretaker. Meets with facility staff and begins intake process. Forms are completed, rules and regulations reviewed. Parole conditions reviewed and Parolee introduced to facility programs schedule.

Within 1 business day of arrival at “Grace House”

Meet Case Manager and establish program intent specific to individual needs. Review special parole conditions and expected programs required to attend. Inform resident of approximate time line to complete all required program(s), review next scheduled parole report date. Review initial intake assessment date with primary treatment center. Review family visitation and related individuals or places of interest parolees are requesting permission to go to or visit with.

Week 1 – 2

Complete DSS process forms. Make second Parole report, begin addiction treatment or required programs. Participate in “Grace House” program requirements.

Week 2- 12

Work individual program and address personal issues as they present themselves. Address family issues and other treatment issues that arise. Prepare aftercare transitional planning, either moving from “Grace House” to independent housing or to later-phase housing program.

Week 12 -15

Complete mandated treatment program and seek approved completion certificates. Begin employment job search and or educational/ job training program. Continue with family reconciliation process as appropriate dependent on individual circumstances and willingness of family.

Week 16 – 30

Prepare to move to individual apartment or private residence. Remain crime free, addiction free. Understand meeting all parole mandates and expectations.

Family Concerns

I am a family member of a program candidate or current program resident … What can I expect?

“Grace House” program design is to assist and hold accountable selected parolees, providing transitional services upon their release in an effort to help them establish a firm foundation in society and remain free.

Prior to admission and often during the candidate selection review process, family members contact “Grace House” in an effort to promote, endorse or aid “Grace House” staff in the decision making process.

“Grace House” staff does not consider family member referrals, endorsements or letters of reference. For confidentiality reasons, SGM staff will not communicate with any client's friends or family members regarding a client's case. All questions should be directed to the client's assigned Field Parole Officer.

Family members who after review of program specific materials (program rules and guidelines) believe or understand the inmate candidate may be a potential program candidate should encourage the inmate to contact their Facility or Field Parole Officer to request a referral to “Grace House.”

The program rules are detailed and enforced providing a higher degree of daily accountability than traditional parole release conditions. “Grace House” program rules are added to a parolee’s release conditions as an additional condition of parole release.

“Grace House” does not provide letters of reasonable assurance for residence nor provide letters of acceptance encouraging the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision that suggest or recommend an approved candidate be granted parole.

May I send personal items to “Grace House” prior to parolee arrival?

No – “Grace House” is a secured facility and no personal property will be accepted until program candidate arrives and is processed into program. Keep in mind that resident rooms do not have locks, and clients should not keep large sums of money or any valuables in the program facility.

May I contact “Grace House” by phone prior to inmate release to determine inmate release dates?

“Grace House” receives no third party calls, collect calls and releases no personal information to include state prison release dates. Staff receives calls during normal business hours Monday through Friday 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Candidate approved to program and granted parole release date:

Parolee is processed into program within twenty four hours of release.

Parolees are instructed upon release from prison they must report directly to Buffalo field parole and make their initial parole arrival report. Immediately upon making the initial arrival report the parolee is directed and expected to report immediately to “Grace House” for intake processing. In the event a Parolee arrives in Buffalo after 5:00 PM and the Parole office is closed, the parolee is instructed to report immediately to “Grace House” for processing and receive further instructions. Inmates are released from prison with a minimum of $40.00. Inmates are encouraged to reserve money to pay for transportation to “Grace House” after he or she arrives in Buffalo.

Parolee will be subject to program restrictions, including movement restrictions and parole mandates.

Parolee receives information related to mail, program expectations, and guidelines. No client mail will be delivered to any of the program facilities. All client mail must be sent to the SGM PO Box, PO Box 1013, Williamsville, NY 14231.

Parolee is responsible to contact family and inform family of what clothing and personal articles they are allowed to possess.

Parolee is also responsible to contact family and inform family as to when parolee is available to leave the facility.

Normally the program candidate will have limited mobility and movement restriction during the initial ninety days of program. Parole will have mandated programs to attend and in some instances may be involved in a structured reentry program five days per week for up to twelve to fourteen weeks. Most parolees are restricted from driving during the program stay. In the event the parolee has domestic violence charges or other related orders of protection, staff will diligently enforce and review said restrictions with parolee.

Can I pick up my family member for dinner, church, shopping?

Yes — Provided parolee has completed all intake processing and released by staff to leave facility.

Note: Parolee will be subject parole release conditions and movement restrictions. Often these restrictions are geographical in nature, detail not to be in the company of others on parole, do not enter/solicit a store, bar, restaurant that sells, serves alcohol as the primary business. Parolee subject to a curfew, normally 7:00 am to 10:00 pm provided facility leave does not interfere in mandated program responsibilities.

Can the Parolee work?

The Program candidate will be applying for social services upon admission to “Grace House.” The Erie County DSS processes the applicant in order to secure Medicaid and rent reimbursements to cover program expenses. Parolee is often required by Parole to participate in numerous addiction treatment programs.

Upon completion of mandated programs, typically twelve weeks (12), the parolee is introduced to potential employers or educational job training programs to encourage full time employment.

Program residents rely upon public transportation in order to move about and meet program requirements.

Can the Program Parolee visit my home?

Yes — Subject to program restrictions, Parole release conditions and other parole special conditions, Parolee should be allowed to visit your residence provided there are no other parolees in residence, orders of protection in place or geographical movement restrictions that prohibit parolee from visiting your address.

Is Parole/Program curfew important?

Yes — Parolee is subject to curfew while he is on parole. Parolee is responsible to be in the approved program residence prior to curfew. Arrival at the facility past the approved curfew is a program violation and subject’s parolee to program discharge and possible violation of parole. Excuses for being late are not accepted. It is the Parolees duty to make sure his schedule provides sufficient time to return to the facility. Missing the bus, car won’t start, typical excuses, have all been used and generally not accepted and places the parolee in jeopardy of program discharge.

Family Members — knowing parolees release conditions

All Parolees are subject to thirteen standard conditions of parole release. At the discretion of Parole and after field parole performs a criminal history review additional conditions of parole release may be added to a parolee’s lease. Each parolee is presented with the release mandates and asked to sign acknowledging his awareness of the special conditions.

Additionally “Grace House” may impose certain program restrictions.

We strongly suggest each family member to request a copy of the parole conditions and review them with the parolee.

It is your obligation to know these restrictions and programming rules. For example: a parolee may have had a sexual criminal history though he may have plead to a lesser charge, state parole will require certain restrictions due to the criminal sexual offense history. The parolee may be restricted from attending events, public and private spaces where any one under the age of 18 is present. This condition would severely restrict a parolees movement and social interaction in public and at family events.

Another example: If a parolee is under treatment for alcoholism, has a history of alcohol abuse and repeated criminal acts due to the history of alcohol abuse, the parolee should not be near, in the company of anyone actively using, drinking or enticing the parolee to use or participate in such behavior. Family functions, parties, social events where alcohol is served should be avoided.

Agency Contract Partners

Erie County Re-Entry Task Force

The Erie County Reentry Task Force is a collaboration of service providers, housing providers, government and private agencies, working together to assess the existing services for individuals re-entering society and to encourage the collaboration of service providers to improve services and increase effectiveness.

Saving Grace Ministries, Inc. is a Signature Member of the Erie County Reentry Task Force. Membership on this task force represents recognition on the part of local government, community organizations, and service providers that SGM provides a much needed valuable service to the parolee population in Erie County. Through ongoing collaboration and cooperative efforts with other signature agencies, SGM has been a passionate voice for ongoing improvement of service provision to parolees.

Saving Grace Ministries, Inc. works with the ECRETF to create housing opportunities for ex-offenders and parolees serviced by the ECRETF “Housing sub-committee”. SGM was also awarded an Erie County Reentry enhancement grant to provide congregate care housing and scattered site housing opportunities for parolees serviced by the ECRETF.

Enhancement Grant Funding from Division of Criminal Justice Services

SGM has been awarded a contract by Erie County Department of Mental Health in conjunction with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), to provide housing case management to identified special needs reentry clients. Funding from this award provides an additional case manager to oversee client engagement in the community. The addition of this case manager will allow higher-functioning parolees to reside SGM aftercare housing, gaining independence and being held accountable for ongoing compliance with parole release conditions, while providing oversight and ongoing case management and assistance.

HUD-City of Buffalo

Saving Grace Ministries, Inc. has been a contractor under the City of Buffalo’s Emergency Solutions Grant program since 2003. Under the ESG Program, SGM, Inc. receives contract funding for provision of emergency shelter services to homeless adult males in the City of Buffalo. SGM, Inc. serves over 600 clients per year in the ESG program.

NYS Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA)

Saving Grace Ministries, Inc. has been a contract partner to NYS OTDA since 2006, operating two current contracts to provide case management, housing, and program services to homeless individuals. The Supportive Housing Program (SHP) program provides provides services to homeless adult clients, including life skills training, food, clothing, assistance locating permanent housing and employment, and other needed services. The Solutions to End Homelessness Program (STEHP) provides housing location assistance, aftercare follow-up, and supplemental supportive services to assist program graduates in maintaining long-term stable housing.

NYS Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

SGM, Inc. has been a contract partner to the Division of Parole since 2005, providing services under two separate contracts. SGM, Inc. provides housing, stabilization services, case management, and oversight to clients under both contracts. The agency receives all of its referrals directly from Parole.

24 Hour Addiction Hotline, Buffalo and Erie County 716-831-7007