California invested $28.5 million in rehabilitation programs established by the formerly incarcerated, in a move to lower the state prison’s recidivism rate.
The new three-year pilot project called Ready for Life is managed by Creating Restorative Opportunities and Programs (CROP). The program is designed to help the incarcerated return to their communities in a successful way, said a press release from the office of assemblymember Wendy Carrillo (D-Los Angeles).
“This program is monumental by focusing on rehabilitation and investing in individuals to restart their lives, reunite with their families after incarceration,” said Carrillo, who chairs the State Budget subcommittee that oversees housing and workforce development.
California releases 9,000 people every year, and just over 4,500 return to prison. The state would like to spread the program across California to lower these numbers, the release noted.
There will be two programs, a residential career campus in downtown Oakland and a center in downtown Los Angeles, located within a partnering community college.
“The program is the first of its kind and based upon firsthand experiences of its founders, all of whom have served time themselves,” said executive director Terah Lawyer.
Gov. Gavin Newsom gave the founders of CROP, Ted Gray, and Jason Bryant, clemency in November 2020.
“While California has made strides to reduce our recidivism rate, it remains too high. I’m pleased and proud to support this important investment into CROP’s Ready for Life three-year pilot program,” said State Sen. Nancy Skinner (D-Sacramento), Chair of the State Senate Budget.
Assemblymember Carrillo and Sen. Skinner were leaders in securing funding for this investment.
CROP partnered with UC-Berkeley’s The People Lab and the San Francisco-based technology company GoodMojo to provide the data to recognize success throughout the project.
Investing in rehabilitation is an opportunity for success for the formerly incarcerated, and it saves taxpayer dollars, the release said.