5 local nonprofits get $10,000 grants to help people stay out of jail

San Luis Obispo County Jail
San Luis Obispo County Jail jjohnston@thetribunenews.com

San Luis Obispo County will award $50,000 in state grants to five local nonprofit organizations that provide people previously convicted of a crime with tools to complete their post-release supervision and stay out of jail.

The San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday approved the award to the agencies after a public application process in January.

The board awarded the maximum amount of $10,000 apiece to the following organizations:

  • The South County Youth Coalition’s Building Bridges to Success Program, which is overseen by the San Luis Obispo County Probation Department, to provide educational and occupational programs to youths who have been released from or are still in custody of the Juvenile Services Center;
  • Casa Solana Inc., a Grover Beach female sober-living and outpatient services provider, for its Return to Work Program;
  • The United Way of San Luis Obispo County to fund its Compassionate Communication (nonviolent communication) courses for men and women in County Jail, overseen by the Sheriff’s Jail Programs Unit; and
  • Transitions Mental Health Association for its Inmate Peer Mentoring Program, also run by the Sheriff’s Jail Programs Unit.
  • Last year’s state budget allocated $8 million to the Board of State and Community Corrections — the regulatory agency that oversees the County Jail — to distribute the grants to nongovernmental, community-based nonprofit organizations that provide services to people incarcerated or released from state prison, county jail or juvenile detention and aimed at keeping them employed and out of trouble.

    In its request for proposals, the county identified several service gaps: leisure and recreation, positive peer associations, employment and education, family and marital counseling, and life skills and substance abuse services.

    The Probation Department’s 2014 statistical report showed that about 41 percent of adults on probation for felonies and about 31 percent of adults on probation for misdemeanors committed new offenses in the 2013-14 fiscal year, trending upward since 2011.

    Approximately 30 percent of juveniles under wardship supervised by probation reoffended last fiscal year, compared to 8 percent of non-ward cases.

    The grant is separate from state funds to offset the costs of state prison realignment, passed in 2011, which sends people convicted of certain low-level crimes to county jail in lieu of state prison.

    The county receives state money to cover costs associated with prison realignment as well as rehabilitation, job training and drug and alcohol treatment programs. In the 2014-15 fiscal year, the county received $6.1 million; $6.5 million is anticipated for the 2015-16 fiscal year, Chief Probation Officer Jim Salio said.