Reentry Resource Center Celebrates 10th Anniversary

More than 20,000 clients have benefitted from expanded services as the County jail population declines significantly

SANTA CLARA COUNTY, CALIF.— The County of Santa Clara Reentry Resource Center is celebrating 10 years of serving justice-involved clients. Today, more than nine County Departments offer services onsite and the Center partners with dozens of community-based organizations to provide clients with the services they need to successfully reestablish themselves in the community.

County Supervisors (Mike Wasserman, Otto Lee, Susan Ellenberg) and Javier Aguirre, Director of Reentry Services
County Supervisors (Mike Wasserman, Otto Lee, Susan Ellenberg) and Javier Aguirre, Director of Reentry Services

“The Center’s impact is evident by the success of clients after graduating from Reentry programs like the Goodwill New Opportunity Work Program, the San José City College Peer Mentor Certificate Program, and the Custodial Alternative Supervision Program,” said Mike Wasserman, President of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors. “These programs equip clients with job training, college education, and life skills for coping with life after incarceration. They are some of our most valuable tools for fighting recidivism and creating lasting change in people’s lives.”

One of the goals of the Reentry Network (an advisory board of more than 40 County leaders and community representatives who provide guidance to the Office of Reentry Services) is to safely reduce the County’s jail population. After an initial peak in 2014, the jail population began to drop. In 2015 and each following year through 2021, the total average annual jail population has declined. On Oct. 1, 2011, the County’s jail population was 3,452. A decade later, on Oct. 1, 2021, it had fallen to 2,414 incarcerated individuals. When compared to the 10 largest counties in California, as of June 2021 Santa Clara County had the fourth lowest average daily population per 100,000 residents. This is even more promising given the high cost of living and economic strain the lower income communities face in this region.  

“The Reentry Resource Center has created a robust network of County departments, community-based organizations, and city and law enforcement representatives that work collectively to provide critical services such as public benefits, medical care, behavioral health services, social and emotional wellbeing programs, faith-based services, legal assistance, and alternative supervision programs that allow individuals to complete their sentences in the community,” said County Supervisor Cindy Chavez, Chair of the Santa Clara County Reentry Network. “These types of critical support services help reduce recidivism by providing immediate help to individuals released from custody, at a time when they are very vulnerable and at risk of reoffending.”

“We have shown that it is possible to move away from incarceration and more towards treatment of issues like addiction and mental health,” said Supervisor Susan Ellenberg, Chair of the County of Santa Clara Board of Supervisors’ Public Safety and Justice Committee. “There is a movement in our country away from incarceration and towards more effective and rehabilitative approaches to combatting crime and its underlying causes. Our County has been one of the leaders in this effort. As we look back on the last decade of Reentry programs and plan our future investments, it is important to note that the Reentry Resource Center not only helps individuals reestablish themselves in the community once released from custody, but it also serves as a model for alternatives to incarceration.”

Aztec dancer
The 10-year anniversary celebration of the Reentry Resource Center featured a local Aztec dance group

The Reentry Resource Center celebrated its 10-Year Anniversary on April 28th with 300 County and community partners and leaders, staff, and former clients who joined lunch and dinner events. Programming included Calpulli Tonalehoqueh (a local Aztec dance group), presentation of plaques of appreciation to partners, and the unveiling of a mural created for the Center by the men of Elmwood Correctional Facility, men from the community, and nonprofit Carry the Vision.

Adam Duran, a recently retired County of Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office Lieutenant who worked at the Reentry Resource Center and is now an author and public speaker, gave the keynote addresses. Duran was there to help prepare the Center for its opening in 2012 and remains one of its biggest supporters. As a teenager in East San José, he was on juvenile probation and dropped out of high school.

“Where we start out in life is not where we have to stay,” Duran said. “At the Reentry Center, there is help and support for anyone who wants to become successful in life.”

Going forward, the County’s vision is to place more of that help and support in front of incarceration.

“In the next 10 years, the County will work to create a no-entry approach, supporting the families of reentry clients and at-risk youth to prevent incarceration in the first place,” said County Executive Jeffrey V. Smith, M.D., J.D. “We know that, by tackling existing inequities in our judicial system and increasing community services, we can make big strides in further reducing our jail population.”

Reentry Resource Center 10-year anniversary highlights

  • Served more than 20,000 unique clients in 100,000 visits since the Center opened in 2012
  • Opened a South County location in 2014, which became a permanent location in Gilroy in 2018
  • Collaborated with County of Santa Clara Behavioral Health Services Department and Horizon Services Inc. to launch Mission Street Recovery Station on site at the Reentry Center in 2017
  • Built partnerships with 75+ County Departments, community, and faith-based organizations
  • Created the Reentry Rise Up & Run 5K to fund clothing for those newly released from custody
  • Added an on-site high school diploma program with the Santa Clara County Office of Education
  • Partnered to create the Misdemeanor Jail Diversion Program to divert individuals with behavioral health and co-occurring substance disorders to treatment and services rather than jail
  • The Office of Reentry Services contracted with community-based organizations to offer reentry programs in custody and in the community, expanding from three programs in 2014 to about 20 in 2022
Former and current staff of the Reentry Resource Center
Former and current staff of the Reentry Resource Center
Partners of the Reentry Resource Center
Partners of the Reentry Resource Center

 

ABOUT THE REENTRY RESOURCE CENTER

The County of Santa Clara Reentry Resource Center (RRC) opened in San José in 2012 and expanded to a second location in Gilroy in 2015. The Centers strive to build safer communities by providing resources to formerly incarcerated and other justice-involved individuals, helping them heal and reintegrate back

into the community. Using a one-stop-shop model, the RRC collaborates with community-based entities and State and County Departments such as the Sheriff’s Office, Behavioral Health Services Department, Social Services Agency, Adult Probation, Office of the Public Defender, Valley Homeless Healthcare Program, Office of Supportive Housing, Office of Reentry Services, Pretrial Services, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, and faith-based community partners. Representatives of these organizations and departments reside in one building and work collaboratively to provide resources and services to clients. Those services include referrals for mental health and substance use treatment, public benefit enrollment, counseling, health care, education, record expungement services, employment referrals, and housing and shelter information.

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, California, making it more populous than 14 states in the U.S. The County provides essential services to its residents, including public health protection, environmental stewardship, medical services through the County of Santa Clara Health System, child and adult protection services, homelessness prevention and solutions, roads, park services, libraries, emergency response to disasters, protection of minority communities and those under threat, access to a fair criminal justice system, and many other public benefits.


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Media Contact: María Leticia Gómez, Office of Communications and Public Affairs, (408) 299-5119, [email protected]; Lynn Madden, Office of Reentry Services, (408) 535-4277

 

Posted: 4/29/22

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