Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bill to Rebuild Communities and Decrease Recidivism in California Passes State Assembly Committee

SACRAMENTO, CA- Today, the Assembly Public Safety Committee passed Assembly Member Shirley Weber’s (D-San Diego) Assembly Bill No. 1238 unanimously with a 7 to 0 vote on April 16, 2013.

This bill continues a proven reentry program for youthful offenders ages 18-24. The California Youthful Offender Reentry Program (Cal-YOR) is an evidence-based program that has effectively brought the recidivism rate down to 1.5 percent for enrolled youth offenders.

Specifically, AB 1238 puts the Cal-YOR program into statute, recognizing it as an effective program for improving communities and reducing recidivism.  Nine community-based organization, including Homeboy Industries, received grants under Cal-YOR in 2010.  The one-time funding supported 411 at-risk-youth and resulted in a 1.5 percent recidivism rate for these offenders, as reported by the California Emergency Management Agency (Cal-EMA) this month, which is a record low.

“Cal-YOR funded programs, like California YouthBuild and Homeboy Industries, have changed the lives of hundreds of young offenders throughout California,” said Assembly Member Shirley N. Weber. “These programs have turned offenders into leaders and have given these kids a chance to rebuild their lives.

Reentry programs, such as  the California YouthBuild and Homeboy Industries programs, have built a reputation as an invaluable and effective resource for young offenders returning to communities.  While enrolled in the program, these offenders are required to participate in job training, obtain their high school diplomas through classroom instruction, assist in construction projects to build and refurbishing affordable housing and improve energy efficiency in homes.

“AB 1238 provides the necessary services, including educational and employment opportunities for a meaningful second chance,” said Assembly Member Weber.  “It is unrealistic to simply release a young offender from incarceration and expect that he or she will have the personal tools needed to turn his or her life around.”

AB 1238 has passed its first hurdle and will now move to be heard in the Assembly Appropriations Committee.

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