The transition from prison life to life beyond prison is a challenging one for men and women on parole. On June 11th, the Sacramento Community Based Coalition (SCBC) recognized nearly 200 people who are on the road to making that transition successfully.
The LINKS Achievement Awards, held at the Holiday Inn Capital Plaza, shined the spotlight on those Sacramento County parolees who are committed to making successful reentry into their communities and to improving their lives, as well as the lives of their families.
"You are taking part in a program designed to help people transition back into their local communities and families, resume their educations, and find and start successful careers," Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon told the award winners. "You are trying to make monumental changes in your lives and your devotion to this goal is inspiring."
The SCBC is a collaborative effort between the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) specifically designed for men and women reentering the community from state prison. Program participants are eligible to receive educational services that include literacy skills, GED and high school diplomas, math skills, vocational training referrals, substance abuse education, a four-day introductory computer literacy track, and a four-day job readiness track. Participants include men and women on parole in Sacramento County that have been referred by their Parole Agent.
The SCBC program applies the successful LINKS model, which is a groundbreaking SCOE career technical education model aimed at helping high-risk students succeed. Services are tailored to individual students based on their specific needs instead of through traditional, scripted education.
During the last year, 40% of the total Sacramento County parole population has been referred to the SCBC program. Less than one-third of those clients recommit and are sent back to prison. The state recidivism rate is nearly 70-percent.
"There is an increasing need for correctional agencies to work collaboratively with other agencies, like SCOE, to improve the chances ex-offenders will become responsible contributors to their communities with stable housing, secure employment, and the skills to become successful parents," said SCBC Administrator Bill Lane. "We work hard to reconnect clients with their communities."
Collaborative partners include California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, ManAlive, Bridges, Jabez Connection, Motivational House, Hope, Helping & Healing, Caltrans, NCCT, Safety Center, Center for Fathers and Families, and Fresh Producers.
For more information about the Sacramento Community Based Coalition contact Administrator Bill Lane, Ph.D., at (916) 264-0241.