Educating and Re-educating Youth and Adults So They Can Head In The Right Direction
YAP Youth Action Party:
This Saturday, September 28, the Mendocino County Youth Project will host its third annual Youth Action Party (YAP) from 3 PM to 8 PM in the Alex Thomas Plaza.
Last year, more than 800 people attended the event, which offers entertainment by youth talent, live music, youth art, community resource booths, and a focus on educating teens about the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.
The YAP’s goal is to encourage youth to engage in positive and empowering activities in their lives; to leave a lasting impression on those who attend so they make healthy choices for themselves and their community.
The event is designed to have something for every teenager, especially those who are at risk, on probation, in foster care, or need other additional resources.
I really respect the fact that YAP Coordinators Bonnie Lockhart and Carter Grissom are committed to making sure that Ukiah teenagers turn away from damaging activities like using drugs and alcohol, and I know this is going to be a great event. Mark your calendars now and spread the word!
Thank You Mendocino County Board of Supervisors:
Speaking of educating people so they can go in the right direction, I want to take a moment to publicly thank the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
A few weeks ago, the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved this year’s expenditure plan for the Community Corrections Partnership (CCP).
This CCP expenditure plan is a result of Assembly Bill 109, which Governor Brown signed to help California reduce prison overcrowding. This reduction in overcrowding was Governor Brown’s response to a U.S. Supreme Court decision to reduce the number of prison inmates.
Under this “realignment” plan, several changes have gone into effect: low-level felony offenders are now sentenced to county jails instead of state prisons, people who violate their parole now serve penalty time in county jails, and more people receive county probation supervision rather than state parole supervision. The result is that responsibility for managing sentenced inmates and those on probation has been realigned, or shifted, away from the State of California and back onto the shoulders of our local county and city governments
To pay for this new local burden, AB 109 established a dedicated and permanent revenue source, which was constitutionally guaranteed by California voters through the passage of Proposition 30 last November.
To help administer these new funds, an executive board was created. The CCP Executive Board consists of a superior court representative, the chief probation officer, the district attorney, the public defender, the sheriff, a police chief, and a representative from the county’s Health and Human Services Agency. Their job is to review data and formulate a recommended expenditure plan for the use of Community Corrections funding.
This year, the board recommended a creative and innovative approach to manage probationers locally, focusing on reeducation and rehabilitation. The goal of the program is to help reduce California's 80-percent recidivism rate, and keep those who are on probation from re-offending.
Key to this innovative criminal justice program is Mendocino County’s Day Reporting Center, located at 579 Low Gap Road. This Day Reporting Program is for medium- to high-risk probationers released to community supervision. The program holds offenders accountable for their actions and provides classes to change criminal behavior.
Recently, 18 clients graduated from the program. These high-risk offenders worked their way through an extensive 16-step program while on probation; which included random drug and alcohol testing, reporting to the center each day, and treatment aimed at changing the way a person who is on probation sees themselves and others.
Along with this innovative Day Reporting Center, funding was awarded to two local community-based organizations: Ford Street and Mendocino County AIDS and Viral Hepatitis Network (MCAVHN).
Ford Street received funding to provide vocational training, substance abuse treatment, and detoxification resources for people currently on probation or just exiting jail.
MCAVHN received funding to find ways to re-route those who are chronic users of our limited, first responder public safety and emergency medical services, to help these chronic users get care before they are in crisis.
Along with these key innovative criminal justice programs, the CCP funding plan also provides for additional county probation officers, additional county corrections deputies, funding for a pre-trial release program, funding for the additional workload in the district attorney’s and public defender’s offices, and a new camera system between the courthouse and jail to reduce the number of inmates transported to and from the jail.
The CCP plan also authorizes funding for a new sheriff’s deputy and Ukiah police officer, and helps provide significant additional funding to Fort Bragg and Willits Police Departments. Although these “out on the street” resources were not CPP requirements, the committee recognized the need to add resources on the street to help mitigate the impacts of additional probationers in our communities.
It has been said that necessity is the mother of invention (or innovation), and in Fort Bragg, Willits, Ukiah and Mendocino County, additional law enforcement is certainly a necessity. I greatly appreciate the innovative plan of the Mendocino County Community Corrections Executive Board, and the approval of this year’s expenditure plan by the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors.
These innovative solutions will not only help us rehabilitate offenders and reduce California's high recidivism rates; they will help keep our communities safer by putting extra deputies and officers on the street. Thank you.
As always, our mission at UPD is simple: to make Ukiah as safe as possible. If you have any suggestions or comments about how we can improve, please feel free to call me, complete our online survey, or leave a crime tip on our website: www.ukiahpolice.com.