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PRESS RELEASE / ANNOUNCEMENTS Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Probation Department Awarded Funding for Drug Court

The Santa Barbara County Probation Department applied to the Office of Justice Programs through the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) for a $200,000 Adult Drug Court Discretionary grant to enhance the current Substance Abuse Treatment Court (SATC).


The application was in response to an assessment of probation outcomes and to the ruling by the California Supreme Court ordering a reduction of overcrowding in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the recent State Realignment mandate to redirect certain non-violent, non-serious, and non-high risk sex offenders to the jurisdiction of the counties. The proposal was based upon offender needs and the well established successes of two local substance abuse treatment programs targeted to provide drug abuse services to a treatment resistant population that is currently underserved.

On September 8, 2011, the Probation Department was awarded the two year grant to coordinate SATC services with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Treatment Program (STP) to add a jail re-entry population to the Santa Maria branch of the Santa Barbara County Superior Drug Court program. Services will focus on individuals who have been convicted of non-violent offenses and have a history of failing to rehabilitate through conventional substance abuse treatment programs. This jail-based, re-entry drug treatment program is intended to divert local offenders from state prison and successfully rehabilitate them locally, at less cost to the taxpayer.

Probation data revealed that of those subjects who failed on felony probation and were subsequently committed to State Prison in 2010, over half (103) were non-violent individuals convicted of drug and/or theft related offenses, or had a significant history of or nexus with substance abuse and theft. Of the 103, close to 50% violated community supervision within the first three months of being placed on probation and 75% later had probation revoked due to repeated technical violations for non-compliance involving continued illegal drug use. Four in ten failed to enter or absconded from treatment, after initially being referred to a program following their jail release; the most vulnerable time for an addict.

The grant will support an enhanced level of treatment by combining the Santa Maria SATC and STP to serve a population that is not currently eligible for Drug Court. By engaging the most chronic drug offenders in the Sheriff’s Treatment Program while in custody, and immediately transitioning them to a community based treatment component with SATC oversight, it is anticipated that more offenders will engage in treatment and remain committed to rehabilitation.

Services funded by the Department of Justice, Adult Drug Court Discretionary grant, as well as other life skills programming necessary for the offender to successfully reintegrate into the community, will be offered at the Probation Report and Resource Center (PRRC) at 509 West Morrison Ave., next to Buena Vista Park. It is anticipated that positive outcomes will support the expansion of Adult Drug Court re-entry services for south county treatment candidates.

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