By The Vanguard Staff
LOS ANGELES, CA – Reductions in arrests and incarceration for participants was greater in magnitude and statistical significance than most comparable reentry programs, according to a third-party evaluative report on the Reentry Intensive Case Management Services (RICMS) program in Los Angeles County.
The program, said the report, demonstrated a significant reduction in recidivism for program participants. The differences observed in arrests and incarceration are greater in both magnitude and statistical significance than most recidivism effects recorded in the literature for comparable reentry programs.
“The resources, dignity, and community that reentry services provide are paramount to reducing recidivism rates, setting people up for success, and making our communities safer,” said Susan Burton, Founder of A New Way of Life (ANWOL).
Burton added, “This evaluation supports what I have always taught: empowering individuals to become contributing members of society breaks the cycle and harm of incarceration.”
The RICMS program, Burton said, is based on the premise that coordinating reentry services and connecting participants to individuals with similar lived experiences could lead to improved health and well-being outcomes, and reduce criminal legal system contact for participants.
The county-wide program partners with 24 community-based service providers, including A New Way of Life, and uses Proposition 47 funding that otherwise would have been spent on unnecessary incarceration.
“The study on RICMS’ impact proves that community-based services improve public safety,” said Vanessa Martin, Director of Reentry for Los Angeles County’s Justice, Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD). “This program is not only transformative, but translatable across the state of California and the country.”
According to the study, RICMS program participants were less likely to experience an arrest, be incarcerated, have a new conviction, or have a probation revocation than the comparison group.
The report also explains a meta-analysis of 53 studies on reentry programs found that, on average, reentry programs reduce recidivism by 6 percent, compared with a 17 percent difference seen in the RICMS program.
“This program gave me an opportunity to chart a new course, but above all it gave me hope,” said Melanie Robledo, a RICMS program participant and now a housing project manager at the Center for Employment Opportunities (CEO) where she connects participants to housing resources and builds partnerships with local programs, businesses and CBOs.
Robledo, who joined the program in June 2021 and connected to her community health worker, added, “I’m grateful to Susan and the organizations and individuals that have given me a second chance and a new lease on life.”
This worker, the program explained, coordinated Robledo’s access to services, which included housing through ANWOL, and supported her as she quickly transitioned to independent housing. In Oct 2022, Robledo secured permanent housing.
During her time at ANWOL, Robledo, the program said, did transitional work with CEO. After 30 days working there, she was offered a full-time position as a client support staff member with Turning Point. After 90 days, Robledo was offered a promotion to be the program manager, and six months later became a full-time position with CEO to launch their new housing model where she serves as a manager.