A hearing is being held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. today at the Santa Rita Jail to discus the early release of prisoners due to prison overcrowding and how to help convicts re-enter society.
Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, who is co-hosting the event along with Sheriff Gregory Ahern, said today that it is the first time that the state prison system, local elected officials, law enforcement and affected sectors of the community, including recently-released individuals, are coming together to evaluate the situation.
Carson said the goal is to craft proposals that will make the transformation into society as smooth as possible for recently-released inmates.
Among those scheduled to participate are Matthew Cate, the Secretary of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Oakland Police Chief Anthony Batts, judges and representatives from the District Attorney's and Public Defender's offices.
Oakland City Council members Rebecca Kaplan and Patricia Kernighan are also expected to attend, as are service providers, employers and health care professionals.
Carson said Alameda County may receive more than 1,000 formerly incarcerated people over the next three years as a result of early release proposals currently being discussed by state officials.
He said, "After years of incarceration and a total disconnect from family and neighbors, many are released from our institutions with $200, no place to stay, no connection to drug and alcohol treatment and no connection to family or other loved ones."
Carson said, "Our current practices are a recipe for continued failure that affects everyone. It is essential that we develop an integrated approach which provides everyone leaving our institutions with a chance of becoming an asset to our communities, not a problem."
Ahern said, "It is very important that all of those working on re-entry knows what everyone else is doing to avoid redundancy and loss of focus in these difficult economic times."
Ahern said, "It is critical to the safety of our community that we prepare our jail population for success when they return to our neighborhoods."
The hearing is being held at the Santa Rita Jail, which is located at 5235 Broder Blvd. in Dublin.