The Board returned to the issues of carrots and sticks for probationers today, with a report by the County Probation Department and the Sheriff’s Office on AB 109/Corrections Realignment. Corrections Realignment involves the transfer of responsibility for some offenders from the state to counties, as part of a court requirement that the state reduce its prison over-crowding. Those transferred are referred to as “the three nons”, state prisoners who are convicted of crimes that are non-serious, non-sexual and non-violent.
Chief Probation Officer Wes Foreman reported that since October 2011, 391 prisoners have been transferred to Shasta County jail or probation. The Department has terminated 116 of these individuals. At this time, 26% of those terminated have been re-arrested. 6% of those terminated have been subsequently convicted of a new crime. This measure, recidivism or the extent to which offenders re-offend after their incarceration and probation or parole, is the most significant measure of the success of the new program. Those released directly from state prison had a three-year recidivism rate of nearly 64% in 2007-08. It is too early to tell whether local supervision will improve that dismal measure until ‘graduates’ of the program have passed that three-year mark.
In Foreman’s report, various programs were described. Of particular importance was a new program called Supervised Own Recognizance, designed to reduce the offenders who fail to show up in court. This new program has had a 99.5% success rate over the past two months’ operation, addressing a criticism of early operation of Corrections Realignment. Foreman also talked about Moral Reconation/ Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This program is based on an established, evidence-based practice that uses intensive treatment to restructure an individual’s ability to manage antisocial personality traits. Therapy includes 36 sessions and can take 6-9 months to complete. It is too early for any results. The Community Corrections Center is now open, and includes a Day Reporting Center with a one-stop arrangement for parolees to receive assessment, program assignments including Moral Reconation, alcohol and drug counseling, and job training, and routine reports to probation officers. In response to a question from Supervisor Les Baugh, Foreman reported that services to probationers can be specifically included in a court’s terms and conditions of probation; and that probation typically requires that the individual must follow reasonable orders of a probation officer. This provides authority to impose sanctions if individuals do not comply with programs and services in their plan.
Undersheriff Sheila Ashmun also described programs that respond to concerns about Corrections Realignment. The Sheriff’s Office, Redding Police Department and County Probation Department, together with the anti-gang task force, do combined enforcement sweeps of individuals identified as gang members or on probation or parole. Between February and May this activity made 431 contacts. From this enforcement 71 arrests were made (18 of them persons on the Realignment caseload). The jail remains at capacity most of the time, and some individuals are jailed out of county through contracts with other county jails (roughly 30 at this time). The Sheriff’s Office is re-instituting a Work Release program. As the staff to closely supervise such individuals is increased, more prisoners are enrolled in the program. Finally, the Sheriff’s Office is very proud of a new program called Step Up that will place inmates into educational programs that could provide custody credits for successful completion. Shasta College is providing three certificate programs, in Heavy Equipment, Auto Technician and Office Administration, for Step Up. Undersheriff Ashmun underscores the willingness of the Sheriff’s Office to develop alternatives that can provide success beyond ‘take them to jail.’
Finally, during the Public Comment period, Lynn Dorroh, Chief Executive Officer of the Hill Country Clinic in Round Mountain, thanked the Board for the contract renewal on the Consent Calendar for mental health services provided by the clinic. Thanks to this contract, 450 individuals a year receive a broad range of treatment services for serious mental illness at the clinic. Each of these individuals is seen an average of 18 times in a year, and the services reduce hospitalization, incarceration and homeless in addition to improving the health and wellness of individuals.
Catherine Camp is currently retired. She served as a Consultant to the California Senate Budget Committee in 2001-02, reviewing Social Services, Employment Development, Aging, Community Services, Alcohol and Drug Programs, Rehabilitation and Child Support budgets. From 1989-2000, Catherine was Executive Director for the California Mental Health Directors Association. During that period, Catherine staffed the county mental health system’s restructuring of public mental health through Realignment of community and long term care programs from the state to the county, transfer of the management of specialty mental health Medi-Cal services to those counties that agreed to provide them, development of risk mechanisms for consortia of small counties, and advocacy and policy analysis for the operation of public mental health programs throughout the state. Her prior experience includes Executive Director to the California-Nevada Community Action Association, Principal Consultant to the Assembly Human Services Policy Committee, and Director of Community Action and Head Start programs in Shasta County.