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U.S. Department of Justice Awards $750,000 Grant to Advance County’s Re-Entry Strategies

Funding to Assist Juveniles Exiting the Ranches, Keep Community Safer

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF. – The County of Santa Clara Probation Department has received a highly competitive “Second Chance” $750,000 grant to support youth re-entering the community out of the Enhanced Rehabilitation Ranch program. The funds come from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention.

Thanks to this grant, a multidisciplinary team will assess the needs of youth exiting the Enhanced Ranch Program, and will provide wrap around services, including housing, substance abuse treatment, vocational and educational services, and cognitive behavioral treatment. Clients will have access to mentoring services, and follow up monthly meetings.

The Santa Clara County Probation Department has forged partnerships with faith-based organizations, government and public agencies and the broader community to implement these services for high-risk offenders ages 14-17.

“We have invested in rehabilitating our youth who have committed serious offenses. Once we send them home and they are challenged to practice what they learned, we cannot give up or think our job is done,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor George Shirakawa, Chair of the Board’s Public Justice and Safety Committee. “Their successful re-entry back into our neighborhoods keeps the community safer.”

The grant allows the Reentry Assistance Program to expand services to high-risk offenders who currently are not eligible for them.

“This grant underscores the U.S. Department of Justice’s confidence in our programs,” said County of Santa Clara Supervisor Mike Wassermann, Vice Chair of the Board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee. “Clearly, our strategic response to re-alignment and the partnerships we have forged have us headed in the right direction.”

“There are kids who do extremely well under the Enhanced Ranch Program but face uncertainties and challenges with the new environment that awaits them when they return home,” said Chief Probation Officer Sheila Mitchell. “We are very hopeful that grants like this one will help us to lead kids to services and resources that complement what they learned in the ranches. It is all about showing them that we want them to succeed and providing them with bridges that facilitate smoother transitions as they go back to their community.”

Background

The Second Chance Act of 2007 provides a comprehensive response to the increasing number of incarcerated adults and juveniles who are released from prison, jail and juvenile residential facilities and are returning to their communities. The United States Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice & Delinquency program’s goals are to provide offenders with appropriate evidence-based services, including addressing individual criminogenic needs, based on a reentry plan that relies on a risk/needs assessment that reflects the risk of recidivism for that offender.

The County of Santa Clara Probation Department operates the Wright Center and James Ranch, which are considered the juvenile rehabilitation facilities for youth up to the age of 18.

A one-day snapshot out of Probation’s Juvenile Records system on December, 2010, shows that 71 percent of youth at the James Ranch had committed violent crimes against people and another 19 percent had felony weapons on property offenses. Most youth entering the ranches also have significant drug use histories. Recent data shows that 91 percent of youth who enter the ranches used marijuana weekly, while more than a third reported using cocaine weekly.
The ranches serve 81 percent Latino youth; who exit into the community and are targeted for the Reentry Assistance Program. Eighty-seven percent are male.

Grants received by the Probation Department will help to respond to the juvenile population with intensive services and the implementation of the six elements of the Missouri Model, a key component of the County of Santa Clara Enhanced Ranch Program’s success.

Essential components of the Missouri Model are:

1) Family voice and choice
2) Team based
3) Natural supports
4) Collaboration
5) Community-based
6) Culturally competent
7) Individualized
8) Strength based
9) Persistence, and
10) Outcome based, which will be implemented in an effort to demonstrate that success of youth reentering the community can be improved with the use of the wraparound model of service delivery.

Media Contact: Gwendolyn Mitchell/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119; Delores Nnam, Probation Department (408) 468-1658
Posted: September 27, 2011