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Affirmative Action

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California Reentry Program

Our Mission
The mission of the California Reentry Program is to assist California prisoners in successfully reentering society. This includes developing parole plans; providing prisoners assistance with developing social skills and obtaining services in their local communities; promoting public support for such programs; and providing a model for reentry programs that can be replicated in California and elsewhere.
Background
The California Reentry Program was started in 2003 with a single client who was interested in continuing his college education after paroling from San Quentin. Allyson West was teaching algebra at San Quentin when this student approached her about college admission and financial aid. This student told people he knew about the help he was getting, and those men also came to ask for help with college, financial aid, housing, substance abuse treatment and many other needs.
Over the ensuing weeks and months it became clear that there was no systematic delivery of information about services and opportunities in local communities to prisoners prior to their release. The program expanded to the Level I facility outside San Quentin’s walls in late 2003 and then to all the prison’s mainline residents in 2004.
Today the program has approximately 25 volunteers and serves approximately 150 to 200 clients per month.

What we do
Drop-in Assistance
Drop in assistance is available for clients who need questions answered about specific issues, for which information and resources are available on-site, or that can be addressed in one or two meetings with a volunteer. Materials are provided including: county resource guides; college financial aid applications and information; catalogs for local community colleges; DMV information; and GED program information. Men who identify longer term needs simply return as often as they need to develop more comprehensive parole plans.
Long-term Case Management
Our services are available on an ongoing basis, year-round for clients who need multiple meetings with a volunteer, to assist them in long-term planning, including employment, education, medical needs, drug/alcohol treatment, and housing. Volunteers will assist clients to assess their needs then return in ensuing weeks with materials specific to those needs, such as college catalogs, contact information at unions in the client’s area of parole, and parole agent contact information.
Parole Clothing
Most prisoners are required to pay $38 out of their maximum $200 gate money for gray sweat suits to wear out of the prison when they parole. CRP is partnering with other community organizations to collect and distribute donated clothing to our clients that they can wear home when they parole. We are actively recruiting volunteers to manage this important service.
Workshops
CRP provides expert speakers one to two times per month to talk about topics of interest to prisoners, such as resume building, health issues, job interview skills, drug treatment, financial management, immigration, and other topics pertinent to reentry to the community. We partner with outside agencies to provide these workshops and materials.
Expansion
Intermediate expansion plans include providing systematic delivery of our services to the reception center prisoners at San Quentin, approximately 3,300 men who are temporarily housed there until seen by a classification committee which determines their mainline prison. We also plan on offering more in-depth services to clients with special needs. Design and implementation of an evaluation plan is also an important intermediate-term goal, to provide data to support replication efforts.

Issues/Statistics
The current prison population in California is approximately 168,000 , and 112,500 parolees are living outside prison walls. 92,000 parolees returned to custody in 2007 due to the commission of further crime after release.
Although the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) provides several re-entry programs, they reach only a small percentage of the paroling population and are not comprehensive in meeting the needs of the individuals they are intended to serve. Most glaringly lacking is individual case management to help each prisoner with his or her re-entry needs, specific to his or her situation upon release. Another major flaw in the system as it currently functions is the critical time lag in the delivery of services: even when adequate services are available, they frequently are not offered until a least a week after parole, and this leaves the newly released with few choices for survival in the interim. In addition, information about available services is often poorly disseminated, and as a result some parolees are never able to access assistance which is, in theory, available to them.
With careful planning and proper implementation of a comprehensive release plan prior to parole, these gaps are eliminated and the rehabilitation process, which ideally began in prison, can continue uninterrupted throughout parole and beyond. Any comprehensive model for such a program must include the active involvement of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, the communities to which the incarcerated return, the public, and the media. In addition, on-going evaluation of programs, in order to track the impact of such comprehensive programs on recidivism rates, is also essential.

Acknowledgements
We would like to thank the following organizations for their generosity, and acknowledge their continued support of our mission:
San Quentin State Prison, California Department of Corrections
Van Loben Sels/Rembe Rock Foundation
Mitchell Kapor Foundation
…and the many individuals who have donated money, clothing or volunteer their time helping our clients

Reference
Ca-reentry.org

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