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CDCR Hosts Regional Workshop in Orange County on Secure Community Reentry Facilities

TUSTIN – The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) hosted the second in a series of regional workshops today on Secure Community Reentry Facilities, a key component of recently signed legislation by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to reform California’s prison and jail systems. The workshop, held in Tustin, included representatives from Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

Chris Norby, Chair, Orange County Board of Supervisors, Addressing Regional Workshop in Orange County on Secure Community Reentry Facilities
“The Governor’s comprehensive corrections reforms aim to address severe inmate overcrowding at state prisons and local jails by funding new beds tied to rehabilitation, and creating secure reentry facilities in the local communities where inmates will be returning,” said Marisela Montes, CDCR Chief Deputy Secretary, Adult Programs. “Inmates too often leave prison with $200 minus the cost of a bus ticket, and no prospects for success once they return home. We must end the cycle of crime that creates new victims. The goal of a secure community reentry facility is to ease the transition of local residents and improve public safety.”

“By law, inmates are returned to their county of last legal residence, meaning offenders will come back to local cities and towns whether they’re rehabilitated or not. These are our residents, and it is in the public’s interest to help give them the tools to be law-abiding citizens,” said Sheriff Michael S. Carona, Orange County, whose office hosted the workshop. “Orange County is very interested in partnering with the state to improve our process for transitioning our residents back home, and exploring the use of secure community reentry facilities. Helping inmates succeed on parole and once they are off supervision will increase public safety and reduce crime.”

In May of this year, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed Assembly Bill 900, the Public Safety and Offender Rehabilitation Services Act of 2007, a historic prison reform agreement. Chief among the provisions of Assembly Bill 900 are funding for 16,000 beds in secure community reentry facilities.

“State lawmakers took a big step this year by finally passing much-needed prison reforms,” said Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, R-Orange. “It is crucial that state and local governments, law enforcement, and the community-at-large are working together in order to see these reforms have their desired affect of reducing overcrowding and recidivism, and improving public safety. We must all be on the same page to implement these reforms, and protect against the early release of inmates.”

Secure community reentry facilities will enable CDCR and local communities to create an unprecedented continuity of care to provide support services. Reentry facilities will be built in cities, counties or regions willing to partner with CDCR, to assist local residents who are required to be returned to the county where they committed their offense upon release.

These facilities will provide programs and services such as: Intensive substance abuse treatment; Vocational training and job placement; Education and GED coursework; Anger management classes; Family counseling; Housing placement; and,Targeted services to help ease the transition from incarceration to a crime-free life on the outside.

This regional workshop was the second in a series of nine statewide regional workshops that have been organized through October 5th, 2007. In addition, on July 16 CDCR hosted an online web seminar to discuss why community reentry facilities are important to public safety.

Invited participants to the regional workshop were from Orange, San Bernardino and Riverside counties, and included: local government officials, sheriffs, boards of supervisors, mayors, city council members, chief probation officers, mental health professionals, drug/alcohol professionals, county administrative officers, police chiefs, district attorneys, county public works, community based agencies, victims’ advocates, chamber of commerce, legislators, and association representatives.

Participants attended workshops discussing parolee programming needs, jail construction funding, and standards for reentry facilities.

“These informational workshops are important to raise local awareness of the secure community reentry facility model created by the Governor’s reforms. Any final plans and agreements on secure community reentry facilities will be negotiated by county sheriffs and county administrative officers, and are subject to board of supervisor approval,” said Chris Norby, Chair, Orange County Board of Supervisors. “The public will be engaged at every step of the process, and it is important to realize that these are our residents who are coming home, ready-or-not, and a coordinated plan for their return is critical.”

For more information on secure reentry centers, and the Governor’s focus on rehabilitation through the new reforms, please visit the CDCR website at: