The Orange County Sheriff’s Department operates one of the ten largest jail systems in the country. With an average daily inmate population of 6,500 throughout five jail facilities, the Orange County community recognizes the need and importance to fulfill a mission of seamlessly transitioning our inmates upon release from custody into community based programs designed to enhance their successful reintegration into the community. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens, a firm believer in reentry programs stated, “The Sheriff’s Department is dedicated to identifying collaborative strategies to reverse the trend of criminal recidivism in hope of making a meaningful impact on adult recidivism. We also understand that it is imperative to develop a coordinated effort with other key Orange County stakeholders that promotes community safety and includes various support services for offenders."
In September of 2009, Orange County was selected to be part of the Transition from Jail to Community Initiative. Some of the goals of the effort identified by Orange County and its key stakeholders included assistance in developing initial inmate assessment tools, standardized curriculums, defining agency roles within the reentry partnership, and improving data collection.
With the help from the TJC team, which included members from the National Institute of Corrections and the Urban Institute, Orange County made great strides in reaching many of the goals it set as part of the TJC initiative. Orange County now has an initial screening tool in place to identify an inmate’s level of risk to reoffend. OCSD has partnered with the Orange County Probation Department to use the same risk and needs assessment tool both in the jail and post release. Orange County has also implemented “Thinking for a Change” as the standardized curriculum both in the jail and post release. NIC provided training on “Thinking for a Change” to law enforcement, probation, and community partners.
Orange County is honored to have participated in the Transition from Jails to Community Initiative. TJC stakeholders are proud to say that although the process was challenging at times Orange County now has many key components of an evidence-based county-wide reentry initiative in place with the goal of properly preparing inmates for a successful reintegration into the community, lowering recidivism rates, reuniting families, reducing jail overcrowding, and making Orange County communities safer.
For more information, please refer to the TJC Phase I Final Evaluation Report or contact Dominic Mejico at (714) 647-4513 or firstname.lastname@example.org.