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New Program Perfect So Far in Preventing Felons From Returning to Prison

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Local probation departments are facing a flood of state prisoners released to county supervision. Sacramento County's Adult Day Reporting Center program shows promise in keeping people from re-offending.  

Wednesday was graduation day for 25 members of the program.  All have had to pass family support, employment, and socialization classes.  They hope to match last year's inaugural class.  That class had 25 graduates and none of  them have re-offended.

Ben Bishop is 28. He's been in and out of jail since the age of 10. As he accepted his certificate of completion, he urged his fellow graduates to "Not be 'hood." 

He says the program staff and the graduates had to be open to communication.

BISHOP: "This program has been compiled over a lot of their education along the way on how to deal with us.  A lot of them cared.  You know?  So, that's just what it really takes, is everyone to take a second to care. And, that's what this program is all about is educating us. "

30 year-old David Thomas is fresh off a 16-month prison sentence.

THOMAS: "When I came home, I had to change my examples for myself and my son and my brother.  So I started making better examples for myself and my brothers and show 'em that you can do it.  You don't always have to be on probation."

Officer Bill Collins says the program can turn convicted felons' lives around...if they make the effort. 

COLLINS: "I tell my guys, basically, 'Look, I can get you there.  We have the resources to help you. I'm gonna motivate you.  But, it's gonna take you to do it."

The California Department of Corrections has reassigned about 20,000 inmates to local jails or probations departments since October 1.

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