Female offender reform programs aimed at supporting family unification
SACRAMENTO – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has awarded a $7,240,326 contract to WestCare California, Inc., to operate a third Family Foundations Program, to be opened in Fresno in July 2007. The Fresno FFP will be located at the site of the former CDCR Fresno First Female Offender Treatment and Education Program for female parolees in west Fresno. The FOTEP was relocated to another facility in Fresno.
The Family Foundations Program is a community-based residential-type setting for non-serious, non-violent female offenders, the majority of whom have been convicted of drug-related offenses. On-site services include parenting skills, health services, child development services, and vocational skills training. Residents have the benefit of support groups and assistance to establish and enhance close ties with their young children. Additionally, the mothers share cooking and cleaning chores and learn life skills to help improve their employability.
“These smaller community-based programs for female offenders comprise a key component of our prison reform efforts,” said Wendy Still, Associate Director for CDCR Female Offender Programs and Services. “By providing the opportunity for these women to live with and be parents to their children, we hope to break the intergenerational cycle of incarceration that we see all too often. By opening the third such program in California’s Central Valley, we plan to provide the type of wrap-around services that such community-based programs can provide. It also allows for more family visiting with inmates’ families and friends located much closer.”
The contract award culminates a process that began in December 2006 with the release of the Request for Proposals (RFPs) to prospective bidders. Bidders were invited to tour the site in early January 2007 and attended a mandatory bidders conference in mid-January. The deadline to submit proposals was March 21, 2007, and the CDCR evaluated all bids and reviewed the cost allocation plans. The contract expires in 2012.
CDCR Opens Third Family Foundations Program
“This alternative sentencing holds women accountable for their criminal behavior while affording mother and child a chance to lead a healthier and productive life as the mother completes her sentence,” said Still. “With the addition of this new facility, we will continue to expand programs for the female offender population.”
WestCare America, Inc. is a non-profit organization founded in 1973 and has 34 years of experience operating therapeutic community drug treatment services in community-based, residential, and in-prison treatment environments. WestCare’s comprehensive experience includes substance abuse treatment and relapse prevention programs; parenting skills development; child development services; vocational skills training; ancillary services; and services to special populations that includes pregnant, post-partum and parenting women. It is headquartered in Las Vegas, NV, and has offices in several states and in the U.S. Virgin Islands. It serves more than 10,000 individuals each month, and has an annual budget of $68 million.
The Family Foundations Program was created by the State Legislature in 1994 when then-Sen. Robert Presley (R-Riverside) sponsored legislation establishing The Pregnant and Parenting Women’s Alternative Sentencing Program Act. Each facility houses 35 women and up to 40 children. Overseeing each facility is a CDCR Correctional Counselor III, who supervises a staff of vocational and academic instructors, substance abuse counselors, and others. Sen. Presley, as Secretary of the Youth and Adult Corrections Agency, oversaw implementation of the first two programs. They are located in Santa Fe Springs (Los Angeles County) and in San Diego.
Learn more about Governor Schwarzenegger’s comprehensive prison reform package at: http://www.cdcr.ca.gov/news/PrisonReform.html