Paroled prison inmates are more likely to become productive members of the community after help from Santa Barbara’s new Day Reporting Center, according to County Sheriff Bill Brown.
The Sheriff’s Office opened the downtown center in conjunction with Community Solutions Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to guiding at-risk parolees away from reentering a life of crime. The center provides counseling and teaches real-life skills to people recently released from prison, making them “a benefit to our community and not a burden to our community,” Brown said.
The public celebrated the center’s crowded open house on Wednesday, September 22, at 127 East Carrillo Street. A sister center in Santa Maria celebrated its open house the day before.
California’s recidivism rate, or rate of released offenders who relapse back into a life of crime, is 70 percent. But studies have shown, Brown said, that with the counseling and training such centers provide to parolees, the rate drops to less than 35 percent.
“We’ve got to invest in programs that help people successfully assimilate back into our community,” Brown said.
And Rick Roney, chair of the Santa Barbara Reentry Steering Committee, has a plan for that. “We’re going to measure the hell out of this place and prove it works,” he said.
County Supervisor Janet Wolf said she was impressed by such counseling topics as preparing for job interviews and what to wear. “I am amazed,” she said. “This is quite a center.”