The transition from prison life to life beyond prison is a challenging one for many men and women on parole. The struggle to find success is not easy and those who find success are worthy of special recognition.
On January 16, at the DoubleTree Hotel in Sacramento, the Sacramento Community Based Coalition (SCBC) Awards Gala Celebration honored 160 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. During the Awards Gala Celebration, 13 SCBC clients were recognized for earning their GEDs with another 25 were recognized for completing three of the five GED subject areas.
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.
"Today, we recognize the many individual clients who truly have earned our praise and admiration. I hope you all realize that what you have done and what you continue to do is remarkable," Sacramento County Superintendent of Schools David W. Gordon told the honorees.
The program is designed to help people transition back into their local communities and families, resume their educations, and find and start successful careers. During the last year, 30-40% 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 75-percent.
Sacramento County Board of Education President Greg Geeting and Vice President Jacquelyn Levy joined Superintendent Gordon, Assistant Superintendent Matt Perry, and SCBC Administrator Bill Lane in recognizing the clients' accomplishments.
"It is our goal that our clients never return to prison again. However, we understand that we cannot control the choices our clients make, but we can control the choices they have," said Administrator Lane. "We want to give them more skills so they can make better choices."
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.
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.
Collaborative program partners include: California Department of Corrections of Rehabilitation; CalTrans; Northern California Construction Training (NCCT); Center for Fathers and Families; River City Recovery; Bridges; House of Integrity; Hope, Help & Healing; California Wraparound; Sober Talk; Sobriety Brings a Change; and Safety Center.