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Alameda County Justice Restoration Project

Topic Initiatives
Geography California

The Pay for Success Fund is supporting a project in Alameda County, CA, aimed at reducing recidivism among adults with low-level offenses.

The Alameda County Justice Restoration Project (ACJRP) will focus on reducing the risk of recidivism for adults aged 18-34, with one or more prior low-level felony offenses on record, who experience a new conviction. This population historically faces a 70% recidivism rate within three years.

With ACJRP, participants are offered a plea bargain and granted Deferred Entry of Judgement (DEOJ), which means that they avoid jail time by participating in the program, and no judgement will appear on their record if they successfully complete the program.

Alameda County provides a broad range of services for individuals on probation, but participation in those services has been limited. ACJRP’s service provider, La Familia Counseling Services, will address these shortcomings through a program model focused on providing individualized, peer-based coaching in order to dramatically improve “uptake” of existing services that support behavioral health, physical health, employment, housing, and other essential life domains, and thereby reduce recidivism. Peer coaches are professionally trained mentors with similar lived experiences, either directly or through a family member, and have successfully reintegrated into the community.

La Familia will work with each participant for up to 18 months, connecting via phone or in person at least two times per week initially and gradually stepping down upon successful progress. They expect to serve 150 participants through the program.

The outcome metric for this project is avoided recidivism, where recidivism is defined as “any arrest in the State of California of any new felony or misdemeanor” within each participant’s 24-month observation period. This will be determined through use of a randomized control trial.

The independent evaluator will measure and compare the rate of recidivism in the participant and control groups. A maximum of $1.37 million is available for earned outcomes payments.

The Pay for Success Fund’s financing is joined by support for the project from the California Board of State and Community Corrections, the White House Office of Innovation, the James Irvine Foundation and NFF. Third Sector is providing project management and Building Opportunities for Self Sufficiency is the fiscal manager. WestEd, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research, evaluation, and services organization, is the evaluator for the project.

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