Dana Simas, Public Information Officer
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) implemented the Alternative Custody Program (ACP) on Sept. 12, 2011.
The voluntary program is offered to qualified female state prison inmates to potentially serve the remainder of their sentences in a residential home, a nonprofit residential drug-treatment program, or a transitional-care facility that offers individualized services based on an inmate’s needs.
To be eligible for the program an inmate must have less than 24 months remaining in her sentence, convicted of a non-serious, non-violent, as defined by Penal Code 667.5 and 1192.7, and non sex-offense.
On paper, former inmate Carol Reedom didn’t seem like the ideal candidate for ACP. However, CDCR staff who had worked closely with Reedom during her recovery had faith that she could benefit from the new program.
Jan Underwood, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker at the Female Rehabilitative Community Corrections Center (FRCCC) in Bakersfield believed in inmate Reedom and worked tirelessly to get her endorsed for ACP.
Reedom arrived at FRCCC in December 2010 where she participated in class cycles that included substance abuse treatment, addiction awareness, drug education, 12-step recovery process, skills for recovery, and relapse prevention. Here is where she became a mentor to other inmates as she began living her recovery and encouraging other female inmates to turn their lives around.
The endorsement and application process for ACP isn’t taken lightly. Inmates must prove their commitment to recovery, show they have a supportive environment to reside in if approved for the program, and continue to follow all CDCR rules during their participation or be revoked back to state prison for the remainder of their sentence.
Underwood endorsed Reedom based on her commitment to recovery and the hard work Reedom put in to turning her life around during her incarceration. In the ACP application process inmates must show they have a suitable residence to go during their participation in the program.
Initially Reedom requested to go back to her primary residence to serve the remainder of her term. Underwood decided that Reedom needed a more supportive environment to ensure the success of her recovery, so she took the initiative to contact Promise House in Sacramento.
Promise House provides long-term drug rehabilitation and substance abuse care to women as they live on-site. Once post-release housing was determined, it was on to the next step for Reedom.
Reedom initially submitted her application for ACP in early September 2011. The approval process included showing her commitment to recovery by interviewing in front of the Inmate Classification Committee which included representatives from the Female Offender Programs and Services (FOPS) at CDCR Headquarters for final ACP approval.
“Based on (Reedom’s) commitment and dedication she showed to her recovery, there was a collective decision to approve her for ACP,” Underwood said.
Reedom arrived at Promise House on Jan. 9 as the first ACP participant to serve the remainder of her sentence as a state prison inmate in a residential treatment program.
During the next four months Reedom participated in group sessions, was engaged in her treatment plan, and worked on improving her education. Reedom graduated from the Promise House program on May 30 and has already improved her life after incarceration.
She is currently attending an employment training program in her community, is in her fourth semester of school to get a license in social work, and is working to get her own apartment with her daughter.
“The staff at FRCCC believed in me and gave me a chance. I was a risk, but the staff went to bat for me and I want to thank them,” Reedom said.
Since ACP was implemented in September 2011 there have been 111 participants, only four of which have returned to state prison. Currently, there are 63 female inmate participants in ACP.
For more information on ACP, visit the FOPS website here: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/Adult_Operations/FOPS/docs/ACP-Fact-Sheet-Final.pdf