DATE: December 2, 2014
TO: Board of Supervisors
SUBJECT: ENSURING SUCCESSFUL REENTRY INTO THE COMMUNITY (DISTRICTS: ALL)
Since the implementation of Public Safety Realignment on October 1, 2011, San Diego County criminal justice partners and treatment providers have developed innovative practices such as collaborative courts, and specialized offender units. San Diego County established the Community Transition Center and the East Mesa Reentry facility in order to rehabilitate realigned offenders and reintegrate them into the community.
However, obstacles remain for offenders seeking to reenter our communities. One resource to assist individuals in that process is a State of California-issued photo identification card. Government-issued identification cards assist individuals in accessing services such as employment, housing, medical coverage, and other government assistance programs. A recent SANDAG survey reported preliminary findings that nearly 20% of male and 40% of female arrestees lack government identification cards. Providing former offenders with this resource can help make our communities safer while ultimately saving taxpayer money.
Action by the San Diego County Board of Supervisors would advance the development of a statewide approach to providing California Identification cards to offenders reentering the community and give a useful resource to local law enforcement and to the offenders themselves.
SUPERVISOR GREG COX, SHERIFF BILL GORE AND DISTRICT ATTORNEY BONNIE DUMANIS
1. Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to analyze the actions that would need to be taken to ensure that California Identification Cards are issued to individuals nearing their jail release date, and to those on probation supervision who lack government-issued photo identification, and, report back to the Board of Supervisors in 120 days with recommended next steps.
2. Direct the Chief Administrative Officer to work with the California State Association of Counties, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and other statewide associations as needed to support the development of a statewide approach to provide California Identification Cards to individuals nearing their jail release date and to those on probation supervision while minimizing the financial impact to counties.
There is no fiscal impact associated with this Board action.
Business Impact Statement
Advisory Board Statement
The California criminal justice system has undergone a series of changes since the implementation of Public Safety Realignment on October 1, 2011. In San Diego County, criminal justice partners rapidly responded to the rehabilitation and reentry needs of increased numbers of jail inmates and supervised offenders in the community using innovative practices such as collaborative courts, specialized supervision divisions and multiple reentry programs and efforts in the jail facilities. San Diego County established the only Community Transition Center in the state and built a new East Mesa Reentry facility.
While some individuals maintain valid government-issued photo identification upon their release from custody or during their term of supervision, many do not. According to preliminary data provided by SANDAG, in San Diego County, nearly 20% of males and 40% of females entering custody lacked a government-issued photo identification card upon arrest. The principal reasons for not having government identification include loss, theft, and expiration. Upon release from County jail, these offenders are unable to access available services and could be more prone to return to criminal activities.
A government-issued photo identification card is required by many employers and educational programs. This identification is also required to access benefits and services such as health care and insurance; including Medi-Cal, long term drug treatment and CalFresh. The County’s Health and Human Services Agency and public safety partners have implemented a Medi-Cal eligibility and enrollment process for offenders in jail and on probation. Assisting offenders in accessing these services and opportunities will improve community health and safety.
The State of California has initiated some efforts in this area. Since 2009, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation has been engaged in a pilot program with the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to provide inmates with a California-issued Identification Card. In June 2014, Los Angeles County entered into a similar agreement with the DMV to provide identification cards to Public Safety Realignment offenders in Los Angeles County jails and on probation.
We have learned from the experience of the State and the early efforts of Los Angeles County that there are a number of challenges which must be considered when implementing a government identification card program for the population coming out of custody. For example, a lack of stable housing complicates the provision of residence information and a secure mailing address for the identification card. Further, the Probation and Sheriff’s Departments could see an increase in work as they assist offenders with this process. Finally, there is a financial cost associated with establishing an agreement with the Department of Motor Vehicles and for creation of each individual California Identification Card. These are all issues to be identified and addressed over the next few months.
Action today would direct the Chief Administrative Officer to return to the Board in 120 days with an analysis of the feasibility of assisting post-release offenders and probationers in obtaining government-issued identification and to work with the California State Association of Counties, the California Department of Motor Vehicles, and other statewide associations regarding a statewide approach to this issue.
Linkage to the County of San Diego Strategic Plan
Today’s proposed actions support the Safe Communities Initiative of the County of San Diego’s 2014-2019 Strategic Plan by reducing recidivism and helping offenders successfully reenter society.
Supervisor, First District
AGENDA ITEM INFORMATION SHEET
REQUIRES FOUR VOTES: [ ] Yes [X] No
WRITTEN DISCLOSURE PER COUNTY CHARTER SECTION 1000.1 REQUIRED
[ ] Yes [X ] No
PREVIOUS RELEVANT BOARD ACTIONS:
BOARD POLICIES APPLICABLE:
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ORIGINATING DEPARTMENT: Board of Supervisors, District 1, San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, San Diego County District Attorney’s Office
OTHER CONCURRENCES(S): N/A
Pamela A. O’Neil / Danny Melgoza