Permanent site offers services to Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill residents reentering their communities after incarceration
SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara Office of Reentry Services celebrates the grand opening of its new South County Reentry Resource Center today. The Center has moved to its permanent location at 8425 Murray Avenue in Gilroy; it operated in a temporary location in San Martin since April of 2015. Community members, stakeholders and media representatives will be able to tour the facility, as County of Santa Clara Supervisor Mike Wasserman, local community leaders, service providers and Reentry clients attend the Center’s official opening.
“Expanding these vital services creates greater access for residents who may not have transportation or time off from work to travel to San Jose,” said Supervisor Mike Wasserman, whose district includes South County. “By supporting individuals with services to stay healthy, gain education and employment, we strengthen the entire community.”
The Gilroy Center offers similar services as the Reentry Center in San Jose. Clients will have access to substance use screenings and assessments, behavioral health, primary healthcare and psychiatric services through the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Mobile Medical Unit. They will also receive probation support and faith-based services, such as food, housing and community connections.
“Providing these individuals with crucial support services gives many of them, especially those with low income, a chance to carve out new opportunities for themselves that can change their lives,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D.
“When newly released individuals have a comprehensive resource network like this with peer mentors who have been in their shoes to help guide them, it gives these clients a much better chance of succeeding with their goals and new life choices,” said County of Santa Clara Chief Probation Officer Laura Garnette. “This Center gives our probation officers the tools and resources needed to empower our clients.”
For many individuals coming back to their South County communities after incarceration, getting transportation to San Jose for reentry services was a significant hardship. The new Center is centrally located in a remodeled building at 8425 Murray Ave., near Highway 101 and Leavesley Road, in Gilroy, and is close to public transportation. This new center does not bring additional newly released individuals to South County communities. It provides services and evidence-based programs (which are key to building healthy lifestyles) directly to residents who already live there and who need them the most.
“The Police cannot arrest our way out of the crime problem. We need help and support for longer-term solutions. Providing services to help individuals with criminal histories turn their lives around is beneficial not only to them, but to their families and the community,” said Gilroy Police Chief Scot Smithee. “Every success helps us achieve that goal.”
The South County Reentry Center was established in San Martin in April of 2015 as a pilot program, in response to concerns from city and public safety officials in jurisdictions such as Gilroy, San Martin and Morgan Hill. There were high arrest and conviction rates in these areas for low level offenders who had been recently released from custody or were serving the remainder of their sentences under mandatory supervision by probation departments. Access to nearby substance use treatment services, employment opportunities and other resources can make a big difference in an individual’s success on their reentry journey.
“Positive programs are an essential component of, and a good investment for, effective crime fighting. We must also continue to invest in community partnerships and proactive policing strategies,” said Morgan Hill Police Chief David Swing. “Investing in each of these areas results in better public safety outcomes.”
REENTRY RESOURCE CENTER HISTORY
In 2011, California’s Public Safety Realignment Act (AB 109) was passed to reduce overcrowding in California’s prisons. Commonly referred to as ”Realignment,” this legislation shifted the responsibility of incarcerating and supervising lower-level, nonviolent offenders from the state level to the county level. Now, felons who commit nonviolent and less serious offenses serve their sentences in county jails, instead of state prisons, and are supervised by local probation departments, instead of parole. To assist the counties with taking on this challenge, funding was allocated to each local jurisdiction and each county was tasked with determining how to distribute the funds most effectively. The County of Santa Clara used part of its funding to establish the Office of Reentry Services in 2011 and the Reentry Resource Center in 2012.
ABOUT THE COUNTY OF SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA
The County of Santa Clara government serves a diverse, multi-cultural population of 1.9 million residents in Santa Clara County, the fifth largest county in California. With a $6.5 billion budget, more than 70 agencies/departments and 20,000 employees, the County of Santa Clara plans for the needs of a dynamic community, offers quality services, and promotes a healthy, safe and prosperous community for all. The County provides essential services including public health and environmental protection, medical services through Santa Clara Valley Medical Center (SCVMC), child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, parks, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and scores of other services, particularly for those members of our community in the greatest need.
Visit us at: http://www.sccgov.org
Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez/Marina Hinestrosa, Office of Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119.
Posted: April 24, 2018