California counties struggling to help homeless parolees rehabilitate

California counties struggling to help homeless parolees rehabilitate

Homelessness continues to undermine California probation officers' ability to help ex-criminals rehabilitate, receive required medical treatment and find jobs.

County probation officers say that nearly one in every five (20 per cent) of the parolees they supervise under the state governor's realignment law is homeless.

As part of his state corrections system's overhaul, Governor Jerry Brown wants county probation officers instead of parole agents to supervise lower-level crime parolees when they are released. The governor believes that it would help ex-criminals find jobs and keep away from committing new crimes.

But, homeless parolees continue to weigh on county officials throughout the Golden State.

The Santa Cruz County Probation Department's Andrew Davis said, "You've got somebody and ... they're gang-involved, you want to get them in classes, but they live under a bridge. They're not going to show up; they don't know what day of the week it is."

While Santa Cruz County's probation officers asked local homeless shelters to admit some homeless parolees, Marin County's officers admitted that they sometimes pick homeless parolees up at the prison gates and pay for motel rooms until they find a bed somewhere else.

In Los Angeles County, 758 convicts released under the state governor's realignment program are homeless. Facing the same problem, San Diego County is planning to spend nearly $3 million to create 150-bed shelter for homeless parolees.

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