Several years ago, the 264-bed Napa County jail exceeded capacity and jail planners were recommending significant expansion to cure the problem. Rather than go all in on jail expansion, the county assembled a criminal justice planning commission to explore its options. This group of stakeholders recommended a more balanced approach, including some jail expansion coupled with implementing new or expanding existing alternatives to detention. One of the key components of the commission’s recommendations was to implement a day reporting program to divert criminal offenders from incarceration to evidence-based treatment and training. As a result, the county opened the Community Corrections Service Center in 2008. The CCSC, operated by BI Incorporated, averages 50 to 60 probationers at one time.
The county also started two innovative programs in the jail – an in-custody cognitive behavioral treatment program and an education and employment program – to prepare inmates for post-release life. The CCSC and in-custody programs combine to provide services for up to 100 probationers and inmates at a time.
A recent report indicates these steps taken years ago are paying dividends. A Napa County grand jury, convened to examine county jail challenges, praised the county for having a mix of programs in place to help alleviate jail crowding and deal with managing more probationers diverted from state prisons as part of AB 109, or prison realignment. California implemented AB 109 in 2011 after the U.S. Supreme Court said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation had to reduce its prison inmate count dramatically. The state began diverting non-violent offenders to county supervision in 2011; this process has impacted counties in many ways.
Released this summer, the Napa County grand jury report praised the jail and juvenile hall for being well run. In addition, the report praised the county for expanding alternative programs, including pre-trial release, electronic home detention and the day reporting program.
For more information on the some of the programs Napa County implemented, review this case study.