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(SANTA BARBARA, CA) – The Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) of Santa Barbara County allocated funds to two organizations providing opportunity and hope for justice-involved individuals throughout the County.
In partnership with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office, Freedom to Choose was awarded $30,000 for a one-year Pathways to Freedom Self-Directed Learning Program pilot within the Santa Barbara County jail. The pilot is anticipated to engage up to 100 individuals in a self-study curriculum designed to address thinking errors and learned patterns of unhealthy behavior while providing tools to improve coping mechanisms and strengthening prosocial behavior. The objective of the program is to support the participants in gaining the necessary insight and awareness leading to sustainable, prosocial change.
In partnership with the Santa Barbara County District Attorney’s Office, the Center for Court Innovation was awarded $56,848 to provide training and technical assistance in the development and implementation of a felony diversion program for individuals charged with lower-level felonies. The Center will engage multidisciplinary stakeholders, social service providers, and local community groups to inform recommendations and future planning of a program to respond more effectively to the needs of eligible adults. Their approach uses research-based programs to address specific individual needs, reduce contact with the criminal justice system, increase connections to community-based systems of care, and hold individuals accountable for their criminal conduct.
Chief Heitman shared, “The Community Corrections Partnership unanimously approved funding these important initiatives that will support the efforts of the Sheriff and District Attorney’s Offices in improving outcomes for our justice involved community members. Freedom to Choose is uniquely designed and focused on assisting our incarcerated population; CCI will be working to build pathways to divert appropriate individuals away from the criminal justice system, while repairing the harm done to victims and the community. Through a continuum of evidence-based and promising approaches our local resources can have the greatest impact.”
The Public Safety Realignment Act (Assembly Bill 109, or AB109) transferred responsibility for specific inmates and parolees from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to counties beginning October 1, 2011. Additionally, it expanded the role of counties’ Community Corrections Partnerships originally established by the California Community Corrections Performance Incentives Act of 2009 (Senate Bill 678, or SB678). Chaired by Chief Probation Officer Tanja Heitman, the Santa Barbara County CCP includes membership from the Sheriff, District Attorney, Behavioral Wellness, Public Defender, Superior Court, Santa Maria Police Department as well as representatives from local community-based organizations, the Department of Social Service and County Schools. Each year, the CCP develops and votes on an annual spending plan to support the local needs of the County’s justice-involved population. In fiscal year 2022-2023, the CCP proposed a budget of $18.1 million including an allocation of reserve funds to support innovative programs. A portion of these reserve funds were awarded to The Center for Court Innovation and Freedom to Choose after the proposals were vetted by a subcommittee of the CCP.
The CCP is committed to helping justice-involved individuals transition out of the system permanently through investments in approaches that help individuals achieve long-term success and enhance safety within the County of Santa Barbara.
For more information about the County of Santa Barbara Probation Department, go to www.sbprobation.org.