Harris says: “We must reject the false choice of being ‘tough’ or ‘soft’ on crime.”
Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced the creation of a recidivism reduction pilot program with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD) and other public and private sector partners. Attorney General Harris made the announcement at the Renewing Communities conference sponsored by the Ford Foundation.
“We must reject the false choice of being ‘tough’ or ‘soft’ on crime,” Attorney General Harris said. “It is time for smart on crime policies that keep our communities safe, hold offenders accountable, and reduce our prison population. Back on Track LA will work to reduce levels of recidivism by connecting offenders with the education and job opportunities that get their lives back on track.”
The “Back on Track LA” pilot program will deliver critical education and comprehensive re-entry services before and after an individual is released from jail. The pilot program will build on LASD’s “Education Based Incarceration Program,” through a partnership with the Los Angeles Community College District – specifically, Los Angeles Mission College and Los Angeles Trade Tech College to provide higher education opportunities for incarcerated participants that include prerequisites to community college degrees, credentials and certificates. The program will focus on the critical time following an individual’s release from jail, by providing the seamless re-entry services essential for success, including employment and life skill services.
“Back on Track LA” will emphasize accountability by assigning participants a case manager or coach to develop a plan that holds individuals accountable to their families, communities and victims.
Individuals will be enrolled in the pilot program for 24-30 months—divided into 12-18 months in-custody and 12 months out-of-custody. Participants will consist of non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual crime offenders between the ages of 18 to 30 years old who are incarcerated in the LASD jail system following the implementation of Public Safety Realignment.
The “Back on Track LA” pilot program will seek funding through a combination of public and private foundation dollars. Partners in the pilot program also include the Los Angeles County Probation Department, Ford Foundation, Rosenberg Foundation, California Community Foundation, California Wellness Foundation, and the California Endowment.
In October 2013, Attorney General Harris created the Division of Recidivism Reduction and Re-Entry, an initiative designed to curb recidivism in the state by partnering with counties and District Attorneys on best practices and policy initiatives. Specifically, the new division is tasked with the development of a statewide definition of recidivism, identifying grants to fund the creation and expansion of innovative anti-recidivism programs and using technology to facilitate more effective data analysis and recidivism metrics.
In 2005, then San Francisco District Attorney Harris created a reentry initiative called Back on Track, which aimed to reduce recidivism among certain low-level, non-violent drug offenders. Over a two-year period, the program reduced recidivism among its graduates to less than 10 percent. Back on Track was designated as a model for law enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice.
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