Calaveras County will open its first day reporting center for people who would have formerly been serving prison sentences for nonviolent offenses.
The Calaveras County law enforcement community hopes to have a key component of its Assembly Bill 109 plan in place in the next couple of months with the opening of the center for former inmates.
The day reporting center will offer programs where participants have to complete highly structured and individualized classes, behavioral therapy, drug and alcohol testing and other services.
The centers have become a common element of counties’ response to the state law passed in March 2011, initiated by a federal court decision that state prisons are overcrowded. It shifted the responsibility for many non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual offenders from the state to local justice systems.
The county’s Community Corrections Partnership, which consists of various law enforcement and behavioral health leaders and is tasked with developing AB 109 policy, decided last month to contract for day reporting center services with Colorado-based BI Inc. The company established the day reporting center in Tuolumne County.
“BI has the infrastructure to train, monitor, and support staff in the delivery of cognitive behavioral treatment,” said Calaveras County Chief Probation Officer Teri Hall. “They have many years of experience with programming offenders and lowering recidivism rates in the jurisdictions they serve.”
Although the original plan, passed in April, called for the CCP partners to hire and contribute resources to the day reporting center, there was a mutual agreement that “time is of the essence and for the County to develop, construct, recruit and train staff for the (center) could take several months,” Hall said. “BI Incorporated is a turnkey program and could have the (center) up and running in 60 days.”
County Behavioral Health Director Rita Downs said a visit to the Tuolumne County facility, which has been up and running for about a year, proved convincing.
“I think that’s kind of what inspired us to use them was after the visit,” Downs said. “I think the model is good. I think it will be helpful to have an experienced provider come in to help us get started on the right foot … I think it will help us to get started sooner.”
BI operates day reporting center programs for probationers in Tuolumne, Fresno, Kern, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Solano, Tulare, Napa, Monterey, Merced and Madera counties, Hall said.
The Calaveras County day reporting center will initially be housed in the Behavioral Health offices at the Government Center in San Andreas. Downs said the beginning of a remodel to accommodate the programs awaits an upcoming budget meeting of the CCP. Next year, after a new courthouse, jail and sheriff’s office are scheduled to open, space is expected to clear for a more permanent space for the center, she said.
The day reporting center is utilized by a higher-risk offender than Behavioral Health substance abuse clients and separate facilities are preferable for those populations, Downs said.