Probation officer calls County's recidivism rate 'good' at 22 percent
Jul 11, 2012 (San Bernardino County Sun - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
San Bernardino County Chief Probation Officer Michelle Scray on Tuesday described as "good" the 22 percent recidivism rate for certain parolees arrested since a new law took effect shifting their oversight from the state to county probation departments.
Scray said her department can do a better job reducing recidivism rates than the state can.
The Public Safety Realignment Act, or A.B. 109, shifted oversight of parolees deemed by the state Department of Corrections as low-risk offenders -- a determination based on their most recent offense -- from the state to county probation departments on Oct. 1, 2011.
During a presentation to the Board of Supervisors on Tuesday, Scray said 610 parolees under county supervision have been arrested since the law took effect, a recidivism rate of roughly 22 percent by arrest.
It pales in comparison to the state's average of between 65 and 80 percent, Scray said.
"Actually, 22 percent is good, and we're going to continue working to bring that number down," Scray said.
She said most of the parolees who have been arrested, including one on Monday when a probation officer, during a routine check, discovered him in possession of roughly eight pounds of uncut crystal methamphetamine, were among the higher-risk parolees deemed more likely to reoffend.
The Probation Department continues to push ahead in its efforts, and has hired 48 new officers since October, with 32 more candidates
undergoing training at the academy, with all of the roughly 100 positions expected to be filled by Sept. 28, Scray said.
In addition, three day reporting centers, all of which opened in June but remain in transition, are now providing essential services to parolees under county supervision, including job placement.
Permanent locations are being sought for the centers, and Scray said computers are still needed so people can fill out job applications online, among other tasks. County probation also continues its efforts to partner with community organizations and to build relationships with employers willing to hire the formerly incarcerated.
In the past 12 months, probation officers have made contact with 130,000 offenders, participated in 36 operations or parolee sweeps, took 450 DNA samples, conducted 17,800 searches, confiscated 202 firearms, broke up two drug labs and arrested 2,485 offenders, Scray said.
The Probation Department has strategically placed 25 officers at police and sheriff's stations across the county to better monitor the parolees under county supervision.
"The officers are out there doing their jobs, and our treatment services are in place," Scray said.
Reach Joe via email, call him at 909-386-3874, or find him on Twitter @SBCountyNow.
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