Harkins, Merski: More than $1 million awarded to bolster Erie County probation services, substance abuse treatment and education

ERIE, June 9 – More than $1 million in grants from the Pennsylvania Commission on Crime and Delinquency will improve Erie County probation services, help offenders transition to productive lives in the community and bolster resources for residents battling substance abuse, state Reps. Pat Harkins and Bob Merski announced today.

The lawmakers, both D-Erie, said the county will use some of the funding to boost programs that cut recidivism rates by offering effective alternatives to jail time.

“Court-ordered treatment programs can sometimes accomplish much more than incarceration by addressing addiction, mental illness and other root causes of crime,” Harkins said. “That gives offenders a better chance of returning to the community in productive roles rather than landing back in prison. It also saves taxpayers the costs of incarceration, reunites families and puts people back to work so they can contribute to the economy.”

Merski said, “In addition to strengthening probation services and court-ordered treatment programs, some of the funding awarded today will bring new hope for residents battling substance abuse by allowing the county to implement family behavior therapy. These intensive programs include in-home intervention that can rebuild lives and restore family relationships, creating benefits that flow to the whole community.” 

The grants – which also provide funding for substance abuse education – include:

  • $463,030 in grant-in-aid funding to the to the Erie County Chief Executive to improve adult probation services.
  • $250,000 to the Chief Executive to fund effective alternatives to incarceration, including drug treatment and electronic monitoring.
  • $149,999 to NAMI Erie County PA to educate high school students about mental health and substance abuse issues.
  • $149,417 to Erie Family Services of NW PA to implement Family Behavior Therapy in Erie.

In addition to the direct funding, Erie will benefit from a $50,000 grant to the Adams County Children’s Advocacy Center, which will train therapists in Erie and other counties on specialized treatment for child sexual abuse.

More information on PCCD is available at www.pccd.pa.gov.