By: Adam Schutzman, 2017-2018 Work First Fellow
Adam Schutzman is a Work First Foundation fellow located at the America Works of Maryland site in Baltimore. In his role, he functions as the program assistant on the Bail Diversion and Baltimore Ex-Offender Re-entry Employment (BERE) programs. He is conducting his research on how bail diversion programs may change the face of the nation’s current pretrial system.
Adam is a facilitator of the brand-new Bail Diversion program. In this program, individuals are referred straight from the courthouse to America Works to join a work program, an alternative to paying bail for their release. The goal is to reduce incarceration of indigent populations who simply cannot afford bail, while also providing an opportunity for job assistance upon awaiting trial. Adam enrolls individuals in the program and works with them on resumes, professional clothing acquisition, and soft skills training. Once they are ready to see sales representatives, he tracks their progress and assists clients until their trial dates.
As part of the job, he maintains daily contact with Baltimore City’s Pre-Trial Services office, providing a day-to-day update on the status of program participants. On Fridays, he volunteers in Judge Pastore-Klein’s office, updating information on participants, new referrals, removals and any other potential concerns to ensure the optimal operation of the program. Since the program is relatively new, there is a lot of work keeping up with participants, their court dates, and employment statuses.
Adam helps out the office, tackling a variety of roles. He has recently come into a role that requires him to lead the Orientation & Assessment class for the TANF program throughout the past month. He works on recruitment efforts for the BERE program by leading outreach efforts to probation offices, drug treatment centers, and community organizations that may have participants who will benefit from the program. He has even gone with Vice President of America Works, Marsha Netus, to meet with Congressmen’s staff about the success and possible future expansion of the Bail Diversion program.
For his research project, Adam is diving into the pre-trial detention system and programs that are uprooting its current state. There is a nationwide movement to ban cash bail, but there remain concerns about what this may mean for public safety. Adam hopes to analyze how America Works’ Bail Diversion program affects case outcomes, court appearances, and other results for participants (compared to those who do not participate).
Adam looks forward to overseeing the continued success of the Bail Diversion program. He wants to thank his supervisors and co-workers for making him feel at home in Baltimore.