Los Angeles, California - Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today announced that the Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation has awarded the California Department of Justice $150,000 in grant funding for “Back on Track–LA,” a recidivism reduction pilot initiative led by the California Department of Justice, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department (LASD), Los Angeles County Probation Department, and other public and private-sector partners.
“To be ‘smart on crime,’ we must build upon innovative approaches that reduce recidivism and keep our communities safe by helping former offenders rebuild their lives,” Attorney General Harris said. “With this generous funding, my office will continue our efforts to connect participants in the Back on Track–LA program with comprehensive resources, both before and after they are released from jail to help them avoid reentering our criminal justice system. I thank the Roy and Patricia Disney Family Foundation for its support.”
The Back on Track–LA program delivers a continuum of reentry services needed for a seamless transition from in-custody to out-of-custody life, focusing on the period in which offenders are most likely to commit another crime. The grant funds will allow the program to continue providing comprehensive case management services to participants, as well as to providing critical reentry kits, which contain clothing, shoes, and toiletries, to participants who are being released from jail often without any resources.
Participants in the pilot program consist of non-serious, non-violent and non-sexual crime offenders between the ages of 18 and 60 years old, and with an average age of 37. The program includes four training tracks: cognitive behavior training, education (academic and career-technical), life skills and reentry training. The program also provides participants with individualized case management services, child support services, family reunification services, health services, and assistance in obtaining necessary government-issued documents, such as birth certificates, social security cards, and California identification cards.
Five Keys Charter School and the Los Angeles Community College District – specifically, Los Angeles Trade-Technical College and Santa Clarita Community College District’s College of the Canyons – teach educational and cognitive behavior courses to program participants and offer certification courses in welding, construction and maintenance. Credits inmates earn while in custody can be transferred to any California community college.
The out-of-custody program comprises three main components: employment, housing, and continuing education opportunities. As part of the program, an Employment Advisory Board has been created to assist inmates with job placement post-release, and the Los Angeles County Probation Department provides transitional housing for participants for up to 120 days. Participants are also afforded the opportunity to continue their high school and/or college studies post-release.
In October 2014, Back on Track–LA received a $750,000 federal grant, the Second Chance Act grant, from the U.S. Department of Justice to assist with funding the pilot program. Back on Track–LA was one of only four Second Chance Act awardees in the country. The Ford Foundation, the California Wellness Foundation and the Rosenberg Foundation provided additional funding for the program.
The Roy & Patricia Disney Family Foundation invests in innovative solutions and community leaders to build a more just, equitable, and sustainable world in which all people thrive. The foundation is guided by a deep respect for every person’s social, economic, and cultural identity, for every person’s human rights, and for every person’s sense of dignity. Back on Track–LA was identified as an innovative model that aligns with the foundation’s mission and vision to ensure that the inherent dignity of formerly incarcerated individuals is supported through opportunities both in and out of prison to turn their lives around.
In November 2013, Attorney General Harris created the Division of Recidivism Reduction and Reentry, an initiative designed to reduce recidivism in California by partnering with counties, law enforcement agencies, and the community on best practices and policy initiatives. The division has developed a statewide definition of recidivism, identified grants to fund the creation and expansion of innovative anti-recidivism programs and uses technology to facilitate more effective data analysis and recidivism metrics.
In 2005, then-San Francisco District Attorney Harris created a reentry initiative called Back on Track, which aimed to reduce recidivism among certain low-level, non-violent drug offenders in San Francisco. Over a two-year period, the program reduced recidivism among its graduates to less than 10 percent. Back on Track was designated as a model for law enforcement by the U.S. Department of Justice.