MARC GARMAN - EDITOR

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1/17/13

 

 

City Hall joins modern age with FACEBOOK

 page! How 'bout them apples!

 

 See it HERE

 


 

 

Community Corrections Partnership

 

finds Vallejo DRC sticks in throat

 

Discussion of proposed Vallejo Parolee Day Reporting Center continues in Fairfield



1/16/13

By Marc Garman with Robert Schussel, Ph.D


Today's meeting of the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) held in Fairfield saw approximately forty attendees including members of the public and representatives from various participating social service and law enforcement etc. agencies in addition to the 12 member committee.


Members of the press from the Vallejo Times Herald, Fairfield, Vacaville and other papers were present. The agenda item drawing attention to this meeting was discussion of the proposed Vallejo Parolee Day Reporting Center (DRC). This proposed program has become a hot button issue due to public outcry in Vallejo as well as the recent Vallejo City Council resolution which made clear that the council does not favor placement of the DRC in the city and outlined provisions for additional resources the city wants should the county insist.

 

The CCP brings together agencies in Solano County who have to contend with the release of inmates as mandated by Assembly Bill AB109. The goal of the committee is to consider means to reduce recidivism and better handle “non-violent” felons who are being released into communities as per AB109. The majority of the meeting was devoted to reviewing statistics and reports from various agencies. The recommendations from the CCP are directed to the Board of Supervisors.


One item not widely known by the public, is that AB109 considers felons “non-violent” based on their most recent crime, not prior violent crimes. Released felons may have violent crimes in their past and still be released into communities as “non-violent.” While the most violent offenders (murder, rape etc.) will not be released, the past histories of many released felons may present even bigger challenges than the “non-violent” moniker may indicate on the surface. A more suspicious person might theorize that the language being used is for the purpose of pacifying public sentiment to some degree. I think that political strategists refer to this technique as “optics.”


The thrust of the CCP meeting was a review of the numbers and statistics, with the Vallejo DRC at the end of the agenda.


Some numbers of interest:


390 released prisoners are currently under the supervision of the County as Post Release Community Service (PRCS) participants. These are in addition to the 736 parolees in Solano County under state supervision. We will concentrate on statistics discussed at the meeting that pertain to the participants in the PRCS program as they are handled on the county level, already in the community, and are the ones in line for participation in the Vallejo Day Reporting Center.



Approx. 40% of the PRCS participants are from Vallejo, 31% from Fairfield, 8% from Suisun, 15% from Vacaville, Dixon 5% and Benicia + Rio Vista 2%.



The assessed risk of recidivism in the Vallejo-Benicia area (PRCS) is as follows:

  • 19% very high

  • 58% high

  • 15% medium

  • 6% un-assessed

  •  


Countywide

  • 2% of PRCS are age 60+

  • 17% of PRCS are age 51-60

  • 26% of PRCS are age 41-50

  • 34% of PRCS are age 31-40

  • 18% of PRCS are age 26-30

  • 8% of PRCS are age 18-25


 

 

26% of the PRCS participants were identified as having serious psychological problems. Out of the 108 total identified individuals, 80 are receiving treatment or supervision. The remainder are without these services due to limitations in available resources.



Discussions at the meeting covered the possibility of changing the name of the Day Reporting Center to the Probation Assessment and Risk Re-Education Center to more accurately represent what the center does.


VIB contributor Robert Schussel asked why the CCP failed to be as proactive as they should have been in exploring job training programs for parolees. Job training has been essentially tabled for the past eleven months by the committee. Schussel also questioned the fact that the county is not presently moving to contribute any money towards additional police and security for Vallejo should the DRC move forward.


Interestingly, the county has earmarked an additional $250,000 primarily for job training and education of Vallejo DRC participants. This seems likely a result of the public outcry and resulting Vallejo City Council resolution.


There appears to be a conflict in concept between Solano County Chief Probation Officer Chris Hansen and his idea on the order and importance of providing job training, and placement. Non-member participant Robert Bloom of the Workforce Investment Board and community members such as Schussel consider job training and placement to be of tantamount importance while Hansen seems more focused on the psychology of criminality.


Pippin Dew, President of the Vallejo Chamber of Commerce read a statement supporting placement of the Day Reporting Center in Vallejo.


Solano County Judge Wendy Getty made an impassioned plea in favor of the Day Reporting Center. She cited critical services being withheld from those in need and the critical and overwhelming situation facing the court system. She urged that the Vallejo DRC move forward as quickly as possible and questioned the continued delay and discussion on a project already approved by the CCP.


Retired probation officer and social worker Dennis Yen (of Vallejo) said he “welcomes the center” adding that, “There's no jeopardy to the community in the proposed location.” Yen also added, “Crime is not up due to these people. They're already here.”



Upcoming dates of interest:


January 24 – Sub-Committee looking exclusively at the DRC meets from 10 AM to NOON – 475 Union Ave., Fairfield


January 31 – Community forum on DRC to be held in Vallejo. Location TBA.


February 19 – DRC back in front of Solano County Board of Supervisors for vote.