Posted on 06/08/2017

LOS ANGELES — Mayor Eric Garcetti announced today that Los Angeles has won a $6 million state Prop. 47 grant — the full amount requested by his Office of Reentry — to help give formerly incarcerated Angelenos the second chances they need and deserve.

Mayor Garcetti’s Office of Reentry, the first in City history, will use the funding to support a variety of comprehensive reentry efforts — including a year-long employment program to help stabilize justice-affected individuals, eliminate barriers to employment, and help them find jobs.

The grant from the Board of State and Community Corrections (BSCC) is part of a program that puts state cost savings from Prop. 47 — a 2014 voter-approved measure that changed some low level crimes, such as drug possession and petty-theft related offenses, from felonies to misdemeanors — into local programs that work to reduce recidivism.

"Los Angeles is the city of second chances — and people who have served time and are returning home deserve the opportunity to rebuild their lives, earn a good living, and break the cycle of incarceration and recidivism,” said Mayor Garcetti. “My Office of Reentry works to support justice-involved individuals by creating opportunities for employment, and this grant will help us do even more to bring families and communities back together.”

Participants in the program will receive a personalized risk/needs assessment, ongoing one-on-one therapy, formal support from peers and mentors, and access to legal services.

The BSCC was allocated a total of $103 million — about 65% of the state’s total Prop. 47 cost savings — to support reentry programs that create opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals to access mental health services, substance use disorder treatment, and diversion programs. In February 2017, nearly 60 public agencies submitted program proposals. Only 24 were funded, including the Los Angeles Mayor’s Office for $6 million, the Los Angeles City Attorney for $6 million, and Los Angeles County’s Office of Diversion and Reentry.  

“We are thrilled to be one of the public agencies selected to receive this coveted funding,” said Kimberley Guillemet, Mayor Garcetti’s Reentry Manager. “We worked hard to develop a proposal that would provide wrap-around services for our formerly incarcerated community members and providing them with the services they need in some of the areas they need it most post-release: employment, behavioral health, mentorship, legal services, among others.”

About one in four adults in California has an arrest or conviction record, which creates significant barriers to employment. According to a recent study, up to 80% of Los Angeles employers are unwilling to hire formerly incarcerated individuals. Research has also shown that providing employment opportunities to formerly incarcerated individuals is one of the most cost-effective ways to reduce recidivism and make communities safer. The state’s average recidivism rate is 65 percent, but for individuals who secure jobs shortly after release, it drops to as low as 3%.

Removing barriers to employment is one of Mayor Garcetti’s top priorities. The Mayor’s Office of Reentry has partnered with Caltrans to employ more than 1,300 formerly incarcerated people over the next three years. And last year, Mayor Garcetti formed a Blue Ribbon Commission on Employment Equity — an alliance of private and public sector employers committed to providing opportunities for the formerly incarcerated and others who have been historically excluded from upwardly-mobile jobs.  In addition, the Mayor has held Fair Chance Hiring Fairs and launched a pilot with to facilitate employment for Angelenos with past criminal justice involvement.