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May 15, 2014 - 70 Oak Grove
May 17, 2014 - Civic Center
Asian Heritage Festival booth
Information Technology & Support Services
A Message from Sheriff
The Sheriff's Department functions at the intersection of community engagement and public safety. Our job is to provide secure housing and meaningful programs for those in custody, and to be a full-partner law enforcement agency. This month we continue our focus on the continuum of care-strengthening or filling in where our services are weak or lacking, and highlighting two important criminal justice responsibilities--the DNA data base, and executing arrest warrants for often dangerous felons who must be returned to custody.
Recently, we expanded our Community Programs Post-Release Education Program (PREP) schedule to better support formerly incarcerated men and women in their reentry process. As greater numbers of people are eligible to serve a portion of the time under community supervision, rather than in custody, PREP added classes and service hours to meet this growing need. PREP now offers classes from nine in the morning until eight in the evening Monday through Friday. Many of the classes on the new PREP schedule are also offered inside the jails, providing continuity and a sense of accomplishment for those who begin a program while incarcerated, and are able see it through to conclusion after release.
Addressing mental health needs is a constant challenge. For over 20 years, we have participated in Bay Area Jail Managers (BAJM)-a peer group of law enforcement professionals - sharing information and ideas on in-custody and reentry problems and solutions. Our spring meeting focused on psychiatric services and the value of collaboration between sworn and civilian staff in tackling difficult issues. Peer support for professionals is as useful as peer support for offenders and ex-offenders in achieving positive results.
This month we introduce a new newsletter column on Legislation. Initially we highlight items we introduced at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to facilitate our work, like enrolling people in health insurance programs so that they can receive essential medical and mental health care upon release. But we cannot reduce recidivism with innovative local programs alone; we have to look at bigger structural reforms. In coming months, we will begin to look at state and federal legislative proposals affecting the criminal justice system.
Finally, I encourage everyone to support the activities of our staff supporting the Special Olympics. Please see the list below.
Be PREPared for Change!
This month, Community Programs Post-Release Education Program (PREP) introduced a new schedule and new services.
PREP is one of SFSD's longest-running Community Programs and a mainstay of the services available to clients out-of-custody and embracing a commitment to change.
For many years, PREP has offered support for formerly incarcerated men and women to succeed in their reentry process. In recent months, Community Programs employees have seen an increase in clients referred to 70 Oak Grove where the PREP program takes place. This reflects the greater numbers of people who are eligible to serve a portion of the time under community supervision. In response to this growing need, the PREP class schedule has been expanded and now offers classes from nine in the morning until eight in the evening Monday through Friday.
By having extended hours and a wider array of classes, PREP provides greater support for clients, especially those who may have jobs or family obligations during the day. The classes at PREP include Thinking for a Change, Parenting and Manalive. There are also specialty groups for transitional age youth, such as Voices on the Rise, a theater and expressive arts program for men between the ages of 18 - 25. Other recent additions to the schedule are a post-release component of the Cisco Academy and a variety of 12-step groups.
In the past few months, the hallways of 70 Oak Grove have been decorated with art made by the incarcerated and the formerly incarcerated. This changes the environment, and challenges every participant to find beauty inside of the struggle.
According to SFSD Program Coordinator, Rodney Choy, "many of the classes that appear on the new PREP schedule are also offered inside the jails." Having a complementary curriculum available in a post-release setting provides greater continuity. This allows more students to feel a sense of accomplishment by completing what they had started while incarcerated. It also establishes continuity as these individuals affirm their commitment to the community by making changes within themselves.
Going forward, the SFSD staff at PREP plan to expand art enrichment classes, 12-step groups and vocational education.
The DNA Data Bank Program is a Hit
In 1998, California's 296 DNA Data Bank Program became law. As a result, agencies collected DNA samples from convicted felons who qualified. The law expanded in 2004, with the passage of Prop 69, which required DNA collection from all convicted felons, and beginning in 2009, all felony arrests.
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department started its 296 DNA Program in 1999. For eight years, the department not only conducted DNA collections for local agencies, but also out-of-custody collections for six Bay Area counties, CDCR Parole divisions, releases from state facilities such as Vacaville, and various program facilities.
The San Francisco Sheriff's Department's first cold-hit occurred in 2005, with a DNA cold-hit of an inmate in the jail, to a 21 year old homicide in the City of Alameda. Over the years, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department has collected DNA samples which have resulted in over 40 cold-hits, both locally and on the state level. Since 2004, use of manual DNA kits has yielded 347 cold-hits and since 2009, LiveScan electronic submissions have resulted in 56 cold-hits.
Since its inception, California's DNA Data Bank Program has become the largest in the US, and fourth largest in the world. As of September 30, 2013, the CAL-DOJ DNA Data Bank contains 2,235,694 DNA samples, with 2013 3rd quarter submissions of 42,251 samples from the various agencies. To date, the total number of DNA cold-hits is over 29,000, with another 32,000 investigations aided by DNA hits.
DNA collections during felony arrests have been the largest success for the state program. A recent CAL-DOJ study of 3,778 cold-hit cases, determined 92% of those cold-hits, (3,480 cases) were the result of an arrestee sample taken after 2009. The 2009 arrest provision alone has had the largest impact on solving cases.
The Bay Area Jail Managers
"Many hands make light work" John Heywood wrote five centuries ago, and it is the concept behind a group called the Bay Area Jail Managers (BAJM) of which the San Francisco Sheriff's Department has been a part for over two decades.
The Bay Area Jail Managers are law enforcement professionals who get together quarterly to share information and ideas related to incarceration and reentry of people under the jurisdiction of local authorities. The group can best be described as a "working group think tank." There are no dues, no bylaws and participation is voluntary but limited to those who are decision makers in correctional facilities. The Board of State and Community Corrections, State Parole and 15 counties in California are members of BAJM and typically send two or three representatives each to the meetings. There are three sister groups representing Northern, Central and Southern California jails and they also meet quarterly.
Each meeting begins with a topic of interest presentation by the hosting agency. We hosted the Spring meeting in March, and I did a joint presentation with Joan Cairns, our Director of Jail Behavioral Health Services, and Dr. Angelica Almeida who also works for JBHS, on the topic of meeting the needs of inmates with psychiatric issues. The presentation focused on the innovative programs and diverse services offered by the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and JBHS as well as the importance of collaboration between sworn and civilian staff to maximize positive outcomes for our population. The presentation was well received, which was evidenced by the number and type of questions asked as well as the positive comments voiced after the presentation.
The BAJM meetings are all about give and take. This time it was our turn to give. These meetings are a great way to keep current on the latest in legal decisions, technology and innovations in the field of corrections and rehabilitation.
The value of the Bay Area Jail Managers group is that it helps each agency find unique solutions to what are usually common issues.
Eyes on Public Safety
There are over 2,300 parolees and post-release community supervision offenders assigned to the San Francisco Probation and Parole Offices. Of these offenders, approximately 180 have failed to comply with terms of their probation/parole; as a result, arrest warrants are issued for the offenders. In addition, there are more than 50 arrest warrants issued on a daily basis for individuals who have committed serious, violent crimes and/or have failed to appear in court for criminal violations.
In order to provide for public safety, the San Francisco Sheriff's Department seeks out and arrests persons with active arrest warrants. Although the Field Operations Division is in charge, it is truly a team effort. Staff members assigned to the warrant sweeps are detailed from every division in the department, as well as outside agencies. The outside agencies that have participated are the San Francisco Human Services Agency - Special Investigations Unit and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation - Adult Parole.
The success of this operation is due not only to those participating directly in finding those with warrants, but those who work in booking, the Central Warrants Bureau, housing facilities, records and jail medical. Without all their hard work and dedication, the arrested individuals could not be expeditiously processed and safely housed.
The operation is only one example of our department's commitment to public safety and excellence. Stay Safe!
UPCOMING SPECIAL OLYMPICS EVENTS
In May, our very own Sergeant Raymond Winters will be participating in the Special Olympics Singing with the Stars Lip Sync Battle
hosted by the Oakland Police Department. He will be doing a rendition of Eminem. Please come out and show your support for Sgt. Winters, law enforcement officers and the Special Olympics of Northern California.
Also in May SFSD personnel will be your waiters and waitresses at the Outback Steakhouse in Daly City for Tip-A-Cop
. The tips they raise are donated to Special Olympics to help provide no-cost training and events for the over 16,000 Northern California athletes of Special Olympics.
In June: Bike the Bridges - Martinez Waterfront Park. Ride your bike on the scenic Carquinez Straight Regional Shoreline and across a couple of bridges. Choose from a 25, 65 or 100 mile ride and enjoy a BBQ lunch afterwards.
In July, members of the San Francisco Sheriff's Department will be at it again at Tip-A-Cop at Buca Di Beppo taking your food and drink orders to raise money and awareness for the Special Olympics. Come out and support while you mangia, mangia!
The Board of Supervisors (BOS) voted on groundbreaking legislation, submitted by Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi, titled Jail Inmate Health Insurance
Enrollment. This legislation will designate the Sheriff's Department as the entity to help county jail inmates apply for health insurance, which would be available upon release from custody.
In February of 2014, Sheriff Mirkarimi submitted legislation to renew the Reentry Council of San Francisco
. This legislation is working it's way through the legislative process and we will keep everyone updated.
In March of 2014, the BOS approved a resolution
establishing a three year contract to accept and expend 4.2 million dollars which would be reimbursed by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. This resolution allows for the housing of up to 56 state prisoners in the county jail.
Bringing San Francisco inmates back to the county where they will be released and supervised is intended to strengthen community connections and provide education and resources during incarceration so that upon release, they have the essential resources to meet the requirements of the court and continue as productive individuals in our society.