By Dana Simas, CDCR Public Information Officer II
Office of Public and Employee Communications

It was an exciting day for 62 female parolees in the Bay Area recently as they engaged in a new program focusing on gender-responsive solutions to help them thrive in society and reduce the likelihood of going back to jail or prison.

The Females Achieving Change Together (FACT) event brought together community resource providers such as San Francisco State University’s Project Rebound that offers a special enrollment program to help offenders access the higher education system. Also in attendance was First 5 California which offers access to education and health programs for children of offenders, and several community housing and workforce assistance programs to help females get jobs to support themselves.

The San Francisco FACT event had a total of 23 community resource providers and included a drawing for prizes and gift cards.

Also available at the special event were makeup donations from Macy’s and Sephora and volunteers who showed the women how to best apply makeup for their skin and how to prepare a look for a job interview. In addition to getting a makeup tutorial, the event included a “Dress for Success” clothing closet and the opportunity for the females to model their new look on stage.

As some of the women participated in before-and-after pictures, the boost in self-confidence was immediately clear. After their makeovers the females said they felt like they could take on the world.

The specialized female parolee program was created to focus on the unique needs facing female parolees. Many female offenders have suffered physical, emotional, and sexual abuse that create unique challenges for females to reintegrate back into society.

According to the National Institute of Justice, more than 43 percent of women offenders state they had been physically or sexually abused before their incarceration. More than two-thirds of all women in prison had children under the age of 18 and more than 75 percent are primary caregivers, compared to 10 percent for male offenders. These important differences in circumstances require different management approaches and programs to meet female offenders’ needs, according to officials.

The FACT meetings represent the Division of Adult Parole Operations (DAPO) commitment to creating programs and supervision strategies aimed to reduce female recidivism.  The program was created in 2014 by the Northern Region Programs Team in Fresno.  Since then, FACT has spread to Sacramento and most recently San Francisco with the complete support of the Northern Region Executive team.

The West Bay and North Bay District Administrators Steve Lin and Thomas Schulte, along with the Assistant Regional Administrator Albert Lee and Northern Region Parole Supervisor Angela Wilson, were onsite to provide support and staff resources to ensure the success of the event.  Northern Region Program Staff, Parole Agent (PA) II Dina Aguilar, PAII Charmaine Brock, Parole Service Associate (PSA) Marjorie Hinton, and PSA Sonia Sandoval, were directly responsible for planning the event, and received assistance from the entire Northern Region Programs’ Team.

The community service providers in attendance include: San Francisco Adult Probation Department, Asian Neighborhood Design, Center for Juvenile and Criminal Justice, Center Point, Human Services Agency, CALWORKS, City College of San Francisco Second Chance, City College of San Francisco Culinary Program, Community Housing Partnership, Community Works West Young Women Reentry Case Management Program, Contra Costa County Office of Education, First 5, Five Keys Charter Schools, Inc., HealthRight 360, Geo Reentry Services, Goodwill Industries, Love Never Fails, MISSSEY, Inc., Mission Economic Development Agency, Root and Rebound, Safestart Family Support Center, San Francisco/Marin County Food Bank, Senior Ex-Offender Program, San Francisco State University Project Rebound, Southeast Health Clinic, The Salvation Army and West Side Crisis.

Another FACT event is being scheduled for November in Sacramento.