Santa Cruz Good Times

Nov 30th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Town Hall with Supervisor John Leopold

John LeopoldSHow have the community workshops on crime and prison realignment gone, and how will they play into the county’s Community Corrections Partnership (CCP) plan?

A year ago, Smart on Crime Santa Cruz County initiated a community dialogue about the impending state prison realignment to prepare our county for the changes that were being planned. As a member of Smart on Crime, I have been working with justice practitioners, other elected officials, attorneys, local academics and community-based organizations to ensure that community members have a chance to weigh in on the biggest change to our criminal justice system in California history.


Last summer, the legislature passed AB 109 and designated Oct. 1 as the start date for having non-violent, non-sexual, non-serious offenders serve their sentence in local jails instead of state prisons. The legislation created Community Corrections Partnerships (CCP) in each county, led by the director of Probation and including the Sheriff, a police chief, a representative from the county, the district attorney, a member of the judiciary, the public defender and the director of Health Services. Our local CCP has worked to be inclusive and has encouraged the participation of many other interested community members and organizations.

Our local CCP plan was approved by the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 4 (see the plan here)  and is predicated on the use of evidence-based practices to reduce the jail population, reduce recidivism and increase public safety. Evidence-based practices refer to supervision policies, procedures, programs and practices demonstrated by scientific research to reduce recidivism. The plan is further broken down into six different workgroups, open to the public and include: Intervention and Services, Data Analysis and Capacity Building, Corrections Management, Community Supervision, Court Processing, and Community Engagement.

The Community Engagement Work Group incorporates the on-going Smart on Crime series with Community Engagement Workshops designed to elicit input from the community about alternatives to incarceration. Over the last month, two successful workshops were held in Live Oak and Watsonville that attracted more than 200 people and were simultaneously translated in Spanish and English. From these workshops, several themes surfaced:

-Jail should be used for violent and serious offenders. Many people said non-violent offenders, including drug offenders (other than sales and manufacturing), should not be incarcerated.

-There is a recognized need for more treatment and re-entry services that must begin in custody—services including education, job training/employment, substance abuse treatment, mental health services/counseling, housing, and positive social supports.

-Early intervention, education and pro-social activities for youth have been identified as critical and under-resourced prevention efforts.

Participants stressed the need to give people a second chance after they have served their time and encourage our community to increase acceptance of formerly incarcerated individuals by reducing judgment, stigma, or labeling people who have been through the criminal justice system. People at the workshops also acknowledged that community involvement plays an important role. Input from the workshops will be incorporated into the funding plan of the CCP.

Our county has been lauded in statewide reports (see the ACLU’s “California at a Crossroads”) for our commitment to following the intention of the law by working to help low-level offenders and reduce jail populations rather than increasing jail bed space and its associated long-term costs. Our sheriff has been a leader in developing innovative custody alternative programs that hold people accountable through electronic monitoring and planning for successful re-entry programs for new jail occupants who will now be in our county jail for much longer periods of time than in the past. The CCP has chosen to invest a significant portion of funding into intervention and treatment services that appropriately deal with addiction problems as a public health issue rather than simply a law enforcement issue.

Together, these efforts will allow our county to build on its successful program that has reduced our juvenile jail population and also to break the cycle of recidivism that is ultimately one of the greatest threats to public safety.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger


Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share


Santa Cruz Gives

A look at the organizations we’re asking you to support in our new holiday giving campaign


Gratitude—For Each New Morning With its Light

The full moon of Wednesday brings light to Thanksgiving (Thursday) under the Sagittarius Sun and Mercury. Mercury in Sag offers humanity the message (Mercury) of thankfulness and joy (Jupiter). No other sign represents food, music and joy better than Sagittarius (only Pisces, when not in despair). Beginning on Thanksgiving, we can list what we’re grateful for. Then we can continue the list, creating a daily Gratitude Journal. What we are grateful for always increases in our lives. On Thanksgiving Saturn/Neptune square (challenging) is in full effect. This can manifest as traditions not being honored, disappearing, falling away. It can also create a sense of sadness, confusion, of things not working out as planned. It’s best to be as simple as possible. And to focus on gratitude instead. Gratitude is a service to others. It is scientifically and occultly a releasing agent. Releasing us from the past, allowing our future—the new culture and civilization, the new Aquarian laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarius, the Age of Friendship and Equality—to come forth. Gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution for humanity and the world’s problems.” The hierarchy lays great emphasis upon expressing gratitude. Gratitude illuminates all that is in darkness. Let us be grateful during this season together. Being, for others, the light that illuminates the darkness. A Poem by R.W. Emerson: We are grateful … “For each new morning with its light/For rest and shelter of the night/For health and food/For love and friends/For everything thy goodness sends.” (poem by R.W. Emerson). I am grateful for my family of readers.


The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program


Pluck of the Irish

Mid-century immigrant tale engagingly told in ‘Brooklyn’
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments


Second Street Café

Pies and tarts for all tastes—from traditional to adventurous


How are you preparing for El Niño?

Getting ready to buy some rain gear. Cory Pickering, Santa Cruz, Teaching Assistant


Fortino Winery

Cabernet and superb fruit wine from Fortino Winery


Tap Dance

West End Tap & Kitchen’s impressive menu to expand to Eastside location