The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) today issued a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit responses from local agencies on possible locations for community-based, re-entry facilities in California. The re-entry facilities, part of Governor Schwarzenegger’s prison reform proposals, will assist inmates and parolees in making a successful transition from prison to their communities.
“These re-entry facilities give inmates the tools to be better citizens when they are paroled from prison – and that makes good sense for public safety,” said CDCR Secretary (A) Jim Tilton.
Representing a new rehabilitation concept for California, re-entry facilities would be built in local communities and are designed to help selected inmates make a successful transition from prison back into the community when they are paroled. While still in custody, and preparing for release from prison, inmates would have access to counseling, drug and alcohol treatment programs, victim awareness counseling, job and life skills training, education and other aids during the last months of their sentence.
There is an emerging consensus among researchers and policy makers nationwide that a focus on offender reentry is a critical component in developing safer communities and reducing the cycle of recidivism and crime committed by parolees in their communities. Research shows that re-entry facilities make inmates more likely to succeed on parole and less likely to re-offend by re-connecting with their families and other community ties during the last stages of their prison sentence while they also receive treatment and education programs that help them turn their lives around. These facilities would only be located in cities and counties who have agreed to become partners with CDCR in the effort.
The programs would be developed in collaboration with local service agencies, who can continue their relationship with inmates after they are released. The facilities would be locked, secure facilities and would be staffed with correctional officers. Also, the facilities are small, housing no more than 500 inmates each, to enhance the effectiveness of treatment programs and to blend into the communities where they are built.
In addition, the facilities would be used to house parole violators so that they could remain in their communities instead of being returned to prisons in remote locations, which would enable them to continue in local rehabilitation programs without disruption, which is critical to the ability of parolees to successfully return to a crime-free life in their communities.
In 2005, more than 120,000 inmates were released on parole from California prisons, while more than 81,000 of them were returned to prison for violating the conditions of their parole.
During the special legislative session on prison overcrowding, which was called by Governor Schwarzenegger, CDCR is requesting authorization to build re-entry facilities for up to 5,000 inmates, allocated across the state.
Responses to the RFI are due to the department by September 29, 2006. For more information on the Governor’s prison reform proposals, click here.