Many parolees struggle to find success because the transition from prison life to life beyond prison is challenging. However, those parolees who find success deserve special recognition.
The Sacramento Community Based Coalition (SCBC) "Go for the Gold" event, held June 20 at the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel Sacramento, shined the spotlight on nearly 350 Sacramento County parolees and their families who are committed to making a successful reentry into their communities, and improving their lives, as well as the lives of their families. In addition to recognizing those who completed various phases of the program, 13 SCBC clients were awarded their GEDs.
The SCBC is a collaborative effort between the Sacramento County Office of Education (SCOE) and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and is specifically designed for men and women reentering the community from state prison. The objective of the program is to address the needs of parolees at increased risk of violating their parole and/or returning to custody.
"It's always a good feeling for me to look out and to see all the clients here who are making good choices now and the families getting to celebrate that with them rather than seeing them dealing with the negative choices," said SCBC Administrator Dr. Bill Lane.
The SCBC program applies the successful LINKS model, 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.
SCBC program participants are eligible to receive educational services that include literacy skills, GED and high school diplomas, math skills, vocational training referrals, and substance abuse education. Participants include men and women on parole in Sacramento County who have been referred by their Parole Agent.
"A parolee's transition back to the community is full of challenges, namely unemployment, substance abuse, gaps in education and under-developed life skills," said Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon told the honorees. "By taking part in the SCBC, you have proven that you are willing to make enormous changes in your lives."
Caltrans was also recognized for the agency's ongoing collaboration with the SCBC. In February 2009, the SCBC introduced a pilot project providing up to 90-day employment for parolees to perform litter abatement work on behalf of Caltrans. To qualify, a parolee must be actively engaged in programs and services at the SCBC, as determined by their individual needs assessment and service plan. The project, funded by Caltrans, contributes to the successful implementation of SCBC programs and each participant's reintegration into their community. Currently, nearly 80 SCBC clients are providing litter abatement services for Caltrans.
During the last year, an estimated 30-40% of the total Sacramento County parole population has been referred to the SCBC. Less than one-third of those clients recommit and are sent back to prison. The state recidivism rate is nearly 75 percent.
For more information about SCBC, contact Bill Lane, Ph.D., SCBC Administrator at (916) 228-3330.