Santa Clara County is already being considered some as a potential model for the state’s new probation and realignment scheme. The county’s recidivism rate for probationers is down and now they’re adding a new facility to the mix.
Before Santa Clara and San Jose were handed greater responsibilities to supervise probationers and low-level offenders, recidivism rates ran greater than two thirds. Ten months into the AB 109 era, that number has been just 20 percent. And officials attribute that to flexibility and addressing specific problems with targeted solutions.
Contributing to the success is the ratio of probation officers to supervised probationers. Each officer has 30 cases and is required to meet with each 3 times per month.
To help develop further successes, Santa Clara County held a ribbon-cutting ceremony and resource fair at the Santa Clara County Re-Entry Resource Center to introduce essential support services and resources, such as health care access, alcohol and drug treatment, and employment and housing assistance. These services are being provided to successfully reintegrate former offenders back into the Santa Clara County community, and are part of the strategy to reduce repeat offenses, as well as to create a healthier, safer community.
“Over the past two years, Santa Clara County has been putting the building blocks in place to assist former offenders to successfully transition into the county, and at the same time create a stronger, safer and healthier community,” said President George Shirakawa, County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “The Re-Entry Resource Center supports the Santa Clara County Re-Entry Network’s mission to create a seamless system of services, support and supervision for former offenders. Ultimately, our integrated system of services may serve as a model for other California counties facing the same challenges of recidivism and State realignment.”
“The Probation Department supervises as many as 18,000 probationers on a daily basis,” said Probation Chief Sheila Mitchell, chair of the Community Corrections Partnership responsible for implementing the AB109 public safety realignment plan. “With re-entry services and referrals to the Re-Entry Resource Center already in place to help individuals integrate back into the community, we were able to quickly link the additional 1,000 formerly incarcerated individuals released from state prisons, who otherwise would have been released from the State into our community without the County’s services.”
According to a press release, the new center will be a one-stop shop. Among the services offer are:
- 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