Sunday, March 18 , 2018, 11:36 am | Fair 56º


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County’s Day Reporting Centers Guide Parolees in Renavigating Society

Santa Barbara, Santa Maria locations offer a variety of community-based services to help keep criminals from reoffending

Two Day Reporting Centers are providing community-based services to prison parolees released back into Santa Barbara County.

After money for the county’s re-entry project ran out, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation provided grant money for the DRCs, so the Sheriff’s Department partnered with nonprofit Community Solutions Inc., Sheriff Bill Brown said.

The Santa Maria and Santa Barbara locations, which held open houses this week, each have a variety of programs, including addiction disorder treatment, therapy, community service and help with employment, program director Katherine Ward said.

Once parolees are back in their home counties from prison, they need support renavigating society in a more productive fashion, Ward said. The downtown Santa Barbara center has 30 clients so far, since it opened in July, and can handle 150 clients a year.

Second District Supervisor Janet Wolf, the board’s chairwoman, heralded the programs as a true public-private partnership.

Bonnie Raisin, CSI’s employment specialist for the Santa Barbara DRC, said the staff members are cross-trained so they can do each other’s jobs, and two clients already have been placed in classes at SBCC.

Rick Roney, chairman of the county’s re-entry steering committee, has long been involved in efforts to reduce the county’s recidivism rates. As of now, it’s 70 percent, meaning 70 of 100 inmates who are released will be back in jail within the year.

Research has shown that education, drug treatment and other forms of help to inmates can reduce recidivism rates significantly, Roney said. His manufacturing background leads him to want to measure everything — twice. As part of the Blue Ribbon Commission on jail overcrowding, he and other members recommended a blended strategy to solve the problem, including building another jail and pursuing alternative methods such as the DRCs.

There are financial incentives to rehabilitation as well, since the $4,000 spent per inmate per year for the re-entry project is far less than the $26,000 per year for county jail or $40,000 to 50,000 per year for state prison, Roney said.

The Santa Barbara DRC is located at 127 E. Carrillo St. and the Santa Maria DRC is at 1775 S. McClelland St.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk or @NoozhawkNews.

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