On March 24, approximately 40 stakeholders and elected officials attended the open house of the Reentry Works San Diego job center that opened in November 2016 at the Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility (LCDRF) — a women’s facility in Santee, CA — thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. It is the second job center to open in a San Diego County jail; the one at the East Mesa Reentry Facility (EMRF) opened in 2015. Like the job center at EMRF, the one at LCDRF is the result of a partnership between SDWP and the San Diego County Sheriff’s and Probation departments.
Managed by sub-recipient San Diego Second Chance Program, this job center offers trauma-informed reentry services to 400 women prior to release and to 100 of those 400 after release.
Attendees of the open house heard from SDWP’s Director of Programs Andrew Picard, LCDRF Captain Erika Frierson, Assistant Sheriff of Detentions Rich Miller, the Sheriff Department’s Reentry Services Manager Christine Brown-Taylor, County of San Diego Supervisor for District 3 Kristin Gaspar, Second Chance Director of Adult Workforce Programs Deb Furlong and Scott Huizar, Probation Director of the San Diego Probation Department.
Also in attendance were City of San Diego Councilmember David Alvarez and representatives from the offices of California District 71 Assemblymember Randy Voepel and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein.
After a brief presentation from Furlong, attendees saw the job center, which can serve up to 25 inmates at a time and is equipped with a computer lab and classroom for presentations and workshops. In addition to case management and workshops, résumé templates and mock interviews (along with professional clothing) are provided to help participants visualize themselves as job seekers.
“I am better prepared for when I return home,” said one job center participant after a résumé building workshop. “I didn’t know I had done so much. You don’t even know how I feel right now. I feel very confident in getting a job.”
Early results from the Reentry Works San Diego program are promising. Only one of 92 individuals receiving intensive follow-up services post-release has recidivated — or 1 percent, compared to a 62 percent county-wide recidivism rate.
The seed funding for the LCDRF job center is a two-year grant ending September 2018. “With continued support, the LCDRF and EMRF job centers’ interventions can significantly reduce recidivism in the long run,” says SDWP Manager of Adult Programs Kristen Walker.
To learn how you can support Reentry Works San Diego, contact Kristen at firstname.lastname@example.org.