Ceremony features former inmates who are turning their lives around
More than 30 men and women, including 29 ex-offenders, who have successfully completed substance abuse treatment programs administered by WestCare California, were honored last week during the “Road to Recovery” celebration in Fresno.
Graduates and their families from throughout the state came together to celebrate the graduates’ success in overcoming addiction and moving on to living productive, independent lives during a ceremony attended by several hundred people.
“By completing important substance abuse treatment, these graduates have paved a path to a promising future,” said Steve Hedrick, Deputy Director for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Office of Substance Abuse Treatment Services. “Successful treatment also helps keep offenders from returning to prison and makes our communities safer.”
Sheila Robinson, daughter of rhythm and blues and soul music great Ray Charles, delivered a motivational address describing her battle with substance abuse and her recovery.
WestCare administers residential and outpatient community-based substance abuse treatment programs for men and women under contract with CDCR. It has been providing substance abuse treatment services in Fresno County for more than 34 years.
“We are proud of these graduates who are transforming their lives and will be able to successfully reunite with their families and communities,” said Lynn Pimentel, Deputy Administrator of WestCare California.
According to CDCR’s newest recidivism data, the return-to-prison rate after two years for offenders who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse programs in FY 2005-06 was 35 percent compared to 54 percent for all offenders.
WestCare currently provides the following services to California offenders:
- Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency (SASCA) services in 33 counties throughout California with offices located in Sacramento, Bakersfield, Fresno and Corona, to assist with the transition from in-custody treatment to community-based treatment.
- Community-based programs to provide outpatient, day treatment, residential and sober living environments throughout Parole Region I (33 counties in Central and Northern California), including:
- SMART Model of Care-2 Program – risk reduction program for children and their substance-abuse caregivers that works to develop strong attachment and bonding.
- Family Foundation Program – voluntary alternative substance abuse treatment and life-skills development program for incarcerated women and their children.
- Transportation Services for Parolees Released from the Substance Abuse Program at the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran to Residential or Sober Living Continuing Care Services throughout the State of California.
Despite reduced funding for rehabilitation programs due to state budget reductions, CDCR has restructured its substance abuse programs to continue to provide quality services and reach as many inmates as possible. Under CDCR’s new model, the department will be able to serve 8,500 inmates in 12 prisons and one community correctional facility annually and an estimated 12,000 offenders in community aftercare.
Link to photos of WestCare substance abuse program:
For more information on CDCR substance abuse programs: