Edit ModuleShow Tags

Four Corners and Nowhere to Turn

Ex-offender programs and substance-abuse treatment faccilities — halfway houses — help provide the transition into society that keeps recently released prisoners from reverting to previous criminal behavior. But state budget cuts threaten their continued existence.


Published:

(page 2 of 2)

Indeed. As a parolee no longer living in an approved treatment program, Ybarra could be found in violation of the terms of her parole and sent back to Chowchilla.

A solution to the problem of all the future Laura Ybarras in the world came in the form of SB 18 XXX, the Corrections Reform Bill that went into effect in January, which created incentives for inmates to participate in programs while still incarcerated. It too allowed for nonviolent prisoners to be released early from county jails and state prisons, but this time around there was a strange new caveat: Inmates meeting the qualifications for an early release would be returned to society without parole or the supervision of a parole officer. They would be known as “nonrevocable parolees” (NRP).

This is supposed to reduce prison overcrowding and to free up parole agents’ calendars. CDCR claims the current supervision ratio is a staggering 70-1. Proponents say the measure would reduce ratios to 45-1 at a savings of $100 million.

But critics of the NRP status say it would actually cost more in the long run. Under the old system, parolees found to be in violation for any reason could be sent back to prison. Now, ex-offenders who break the law but have nonrevocable parole status must first be apprehended by law enforcement and then prosecuted by the D.A.’s office, all at taxpayer expense.

“We don’t think that [nonrevocable parole] is the best thing for public safety,” says Rodriguez. “Also, it doesn’t provide any direction for the people getting out of prison. No one is telling them what to do or helping them with the issues that caused them to commit crimes.”
And they will be coming home in large numbers. Depending on whom you talk to, the number of ex-offenders returning to San Diego ranges from 6,000 to 10,000 per year. The Corrections Reform Bill would inflate that number by thousands more nonrevocable parolees.
“I don’t know how this neighborhood is gonna house that many people with no programs, no housing and no jobs,” says Celina Brown, the program coordinator for CRASH.

In response to the state’s recidivism problem, District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis began hosting a community-reentry roundtable as early as 2006. From those roundtable talks came the bones for SB 618, authored by Senator Jackie Speier, a measure that provides for an effective way to get treatment while behind bars. With an annual budget of $3 million, SB 618 provides substance abuse recovery, education, vocational training and case management for up to 18 months following release from prison.
Rodriguez says that at present, 650 inmates are enrolled in the programs, available at Richard J. Donovan State Prison in Otay and the California Institute for Women in Chino. She says preliminary reports show the rate of recidivism among participants has been knocked down to close to 20 percent. “No other city [in California] has adopted SB 618,” she says. “We’re at the forefront in San Diego.”

In the final days of June, Laura ­Ybarra got an 11th-hour reprieve. Her parole agent allowed her to move into Crossroads’ less stringent sober-living dorm. “She’s got a job at a convalescent home,” says Dr. Taylor, hardly able to disguise the joy in her voice. “They hired her without an ID.”

Later, Taylor says what she prays for at night. “I wish I could open up a ranch,” she says, settling back into an office chair, smiling and closing her eyes, “where the ladies could work, recover and love themselves again.”

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

The Coolest Things Happening in San Diego Beer Right Now

A dive into the new, notable, and lesser-known in our city’s beer scene

Your 2018 San Diego Summer Bucket List

Here’s our insider’s guide for Memorial Day through Labor Day

The Best of North County 2018

Our annual list of what we’re loving above the 56, from bites and brews to shopping, wellness, and arts and kids’ activities galore
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Vote Now for San Diego's Best Restaurants 2018
    From burritos to bottomless mimosas, you choose San Diego’s best eats and drinks in 90 categories
  2. Personal Stories are on Display at the Museum of Man's 'PostSecret'
    Frank Warren collects deep, dark secrets for this community arts project
  3. The Best Burgers in San Diego
    These burgers are food critic Troy Johnson's finalists for the best in San Diego
  4. The Best of North County 2018
    Our annual list of what we’re loving above the 56, from bites and brews to shopping, wellness, and arts and kids’ activities galore
  5. 31 Best Places to Live in San Diego
    Five local homeowners share their advice, tips, and tricks on how they sealed the deal
  6. Has Anything Really Changed Since Ballast Point Sold to Constellation?
    More than two years after the acquisition, misinformation and misunderstanding still abound
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Vote Now for Your Orangetheory Winner!

Winners will be announced at our Sweat event on May 12

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

AquaVie: 10 Reasons It’s Downtown’s Best Kept Secret

The best workout and spa getaway around? It’s actually right underneath your nose.

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags