County approves reentry assistance for parolees, low-level offenders

County budget tackles $220M shortfall

At today’s meeting, the Santa Clara County board of supervisors
approved the creation of a county

reentry network

for former offenders, such as parolees and low-level prisoners
who have already served their time.
At today’s meeting, the Santa Clara County board of supervisors approved the creation of a county “reentry network” for former offenders, such as parolees and low-level prisoners who have already served their time.

The network will help the county to develop cross-system and comprehensive reentry and recidivism reduction strategies, according to a county press release.

“The Reentry Network will pull together the many individual agencies that are working hard to reduce repeat offenses and prepare inmates for returning to our community,” said Supervisor George Shirakawa, Chair of the board’s Public Safety and Justice Committee, who proposed the Reentry Network. “The partnerships we are forging will leverage our existing resources and help to develop strategies to build stronger families and safer and communities throughout Santa Clara County.” 

The Santa Clara County Reentry Network is a client-centered model aimed at identifying the needs of inmates in custody to link them with resources available through the County, cities, and community groups prior to release. Right now, when inmates are released, they most likely face the same conditions of joblessness, illiteracy, violence, or anger that were present prior to incarceration.  

“The Reentry Network’s cross-system collaborations will help us to respond to challenges ahead,” said District 1 Supervisor Mike Wasserman, vice chair of the Public Safety and Justice Committee. 

“With the state’s proposed realignment of parolees and the county’s criminal and juvenile justice system facing a $40 million budget deficit, we’ll need to draw on our collective expertise to break the cycle of incarceration.” 

The average jail population in Santa Clara County is 3,600 inmates. Based on the jail population daily report, the maximum-security units in the Main Jail are regularly over capacity and in need of relief. These higher-level offenders receive minimal in-custody programming and currently have no coordinated reentry effort, according to the county.

The county has proposed a list of short-term goals for the network:  

– Conduct proper assessments to link inmates to effective in-custody and community-based programs.

– Establish an integrated method to effectively transition inmates into the community.

– Leverage existing efforts in the juvenile and adult settings.

– Prepare the organization and its partners for State realignment of prisoners and parolees.

“A key element of incarceration is rehabilitation,” said Sheila Mitchell, chief probation officer. “By approaching incarceration from this vantage point, we will help the population that we are here to serve to successfully transition into the community.” 

 

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