As the early release of thousands of 'low-level' California prison inmates begins as early as this week there's concern about finding them jobs to help keep them from returning to crime.
In San Diego County and throughout the state, multi-agency "community corrections partnerships" are working to address that issue.
The partnerships bring together law enforcement, parole and probation departments, social services and nonprofit organizations.
The mission is to give ex-offenders the skills to compete in an already desperate job market while putting the criminal 'strikes' against them in the past.
One organization, "Second Chance,” has found employment for nearly 2,000 former prison inmates since its establishment in 1993. This class figures to be followed by a flood of inmates getting out early.
California is under federal court orders to reduce prison overcrowding by 30,000 inmates by July 2013, so 'low-level' prisoners could be sent to county jails, triggering an early release of jail inmates.
Women inmates who are mothers, and have less than two years left on sentences for non-violent, non-sexual crimes could soon qualify for home releases with GPS monitoring. But the state is only reimbursing the counties for half of what it spends on the prisoners.
That could create a financial crunch for the providers of ex-inmate housing, re-entry education and vocational training.
San Diego County figures to get about $25 million dollars from the roughly $400 million that the Dept. of Corrections & Rehabilitation is allocating to local lockups and re-entry programs.
That statewide amount is scheduled to double next fiscal year and reach $1.2 billion the following year.