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What is Innovation?

What is Innovation?

An innovative project may introduce a novel, creative, and/or ingenious approach to a variety of practices related to reducing adult recidivism. An innovative project contributes to learning, rather than having a primary focus on providing a service. The ultimate goal is to identify new practices that will improve services for the adult reentry population. Innovative projects can contribute to learning at any point across the spectrum of an individual or population’s needs, such as housing, employment, mental health, education, and drug treatment supports.

For the purposes of this grant program, recidivism shall be defined as measures of re-arrest, reconviction, or return to prison of people with conviction histories, with or without a new sentence.

In order for an application to be considered an innovative project, it must meet all of the following criteria:

1. Innovative projects must promote new approaches to reentry in one or more of the following ways:

  • Introducing a new practice or approach with practical application in the field;
  • Adapting an existing practice or approach, so that it can serve a new population or setting; or
  • Modifying an existing practice or approach from another field, to be used for the first time in the field of reentry.

2. It has a learning component, which will contribute to the body of knowledge about successful reentry and reducing adult recidivism. The learning component is represented in the application’s Innovation Objective.  Innovation Objective defines the impact the innovative project’s specific activities will have on the target population and the impact will be addressed by the applicant’s proposed project.

3. It is focused on reducing adult recidivism and addressing root causes of incarceration. For example, innovative projects may be used for the following purposes:

  • Developing new services to meet previously unmet needs in the adult reentry population;
  • Promoting collaboration between community, community based organizations, and/or agencies to improve access to and coordination of services such as housing, employment, mental health, education, or drug treatment;
  • Conducting participatory research with individuals touched by the criminal justice system that contributes to knowledge in the field of reentry;
  • Developing economic development approaches including job creation strategies and broader supports;
  • Raising awareness, educating the public and decision-makers, and advocating or lobbying for policies that address recidivism; or
  • Implementing other creative ideas that are expected to reduce adult recidivism in Alameda County.

4. It is time limited.

Depending on the funding category, project implementation must be completed within 6 months or 18 months. Applicants for 18-month grants are permitted to include a planning phase of no longer than 6 months in their proposal within that period. Grantees will share their project findings and deliverables at the Innovations In Reentry Round 2 (IIR2) Conference within 18 months of the grant period.