SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.---The County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors approved this week an agreement with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation’s (CDCR) Division of Adult Parole Operations to provide, in one place, programs and services to help reintroduce parolees back to their communities and families. The new Parolee Reentry Services Program will be funded through a $2,581,000 grant from CDCR, for the next two years.
“We’ll all be safer if these individuals are helped to stay out of trouble and successfully reintegrate into the community,” said Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Vice Chair of the Board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee, and Chair of the County’s Reentry Network.
The partnership between CDCR and the County will strengthen already existing efforts at the County’s Reentry Resource Center, which now serves adult offenders on probation and under the County’s supervision. The Parolee Reentry Services Program will make direct referrals of parolees to the County’s one-stop resource center to help the parolees under state supervision access reentry services such as housing, substance abuse and mental health counseling, food assistance, clothing, and post-release mentoring . The center will assist individuals who need to enroll for general assistance and health benefits. Additionally, clients may be linked to the Faith Reentry Collaborative, which connects them with faith-based resource centers for fellowship, mentorship and community resources.
“Our Re-entry program is one of the most effective models in California because it reflects the County’s core values and builds on interdepartmental collaborative efforts to provide holistic solutions to problems,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, County of Santa Clara. “We are heartened by the State’s vote of confidence as reflected by this grant award.”
Comprehensive rehabilitation is crucial to the successful reintegration of parolees to communities, homes and families. The Reentry Resource Center, in collaboration with the Office of the County Executive, the Department of Alcohol and Drug Services (DADS), and the Mental Health Department will administer the Program, which also will be supported by the Social Services Agency and the Faith Reentry Collaborative.
“Substance Abuse treatment will be an integral part of the parolee reentry services,” said Bruce Copley, Director of the County’s Department of Alcohol and Drug Services. “We want to help individuals understand the nature of addiction and support them to make other choices so they can make better decisions.”
Each year, the program will serve a minimum of 200 male and female offenders residing within Santa Clara County, who have been referred by a Parole Agent. At any given time, the Reentry Resources Center will be able to accommodate up to 83 parolees who will receive services for six to nine months; after which they may continue to receive support through the Reentry Resource Center and its Multi-Agency Program. Caseworkers will closely monitor clients for one year.
This program will provide parolees with a variety of multidisciplinary services, which will include: assessments and initial service plans during last months in custody; substance use recovery and mental disorders treatments; legal assistance; educational and vocational training; employment and transitional job opportunities; assistance in enrolling in public benefits and matching with a trained mentor.
The enactment of AB109, the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011 shifted state prisoners to California counties, where they will serve their jail sentence. Under AB109, county residents committing new non-violent, non-serious, and non-high risk sex offenses are no longer eligible for state prison; instead, they are sentenced to County jail. At the same time, individuals who are returning home after completing state prison sentences for non-violent, non-serious, and non-high risk sex offenses are now assigned to community supervision under County Probation rather than state parole. This movement of people from state prison to county jails and onto probation caseloads has significantly increased the number of formerly incarcerated individuals in need of services at the county level.
The County of Santa Clara responded to the challenges created by this legislative change with a proactive approach that includes modifying systems and protocols to accommodate a new offender population, and creating new strategies to better address their needs.
On June 21, 2011, the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors approved the establishment of the cross-systems Reentry Network with the goal to identify strategies to better link inmates to effective in-custody services, reduce repeat offenders, and prepare Santa Clara County for the realignment of parolees and low-level prisoners. The County opened the Reentry Resource Center In February 2012, a centralized assessment and resource location where individuals released from custody and/or on probation can receive service referrals and wrap around services to help them become stable and self sufficient as they reintegrate into the community. The center has helped decrease recidivism, increase rehabilitation and keep the community at large safer. Services available at the Re-entry Resource Center include:
- Intake and needs assessment
- Alcohol and drug treatment and care
- Resources to the faith communities
- Peer Mentoring
- Housing Assistance
- General assistance benefits
- Health care referral – medical and mental health services
- Case Management
- Clothes Closet
- Additional resources coming online in the next few months include Employment Services, Food Assistance/Distribution, Life Skills Classes, Peer Support Groups
The Reentry Resource Center, located at 151 W. Mission St., San Jose, includes Probation, Sheriff/Department of Correction, Custody Health, Mental Health Department, Department of Alcohol and Drug Services, Ambulatory Care, County Executive’s Office of Reentry Services, and Social Services Agency.
Posted: February 26, 2014