Bay Area Parole Services
In 1990 Mimi Silbert was asked to conduct research and make recommendations to the California Department of Corrections (CDC) regarding improved delivery of services to the parole population in six Bay Area counties (Alameda, Contra Costa, San Mateo, Santa Clara, San Francisco and Marin). Recommendations were based on a review of the literature; findings from surveys of prison inmates, parole agents in the Bay Area and community program personnel representing housing, job training and placement and substance abuse programs; and policy interviews with representative CDC management staff. Silbert recommended the establishment of the Bay Area Parole Services Network (BASN) and CDC asked Dr. Silbert to implement the program on a three-year pilot project basis to remove technical parole violators from prison to services in the community. The intent of the BASN was to facilitate early delivery of effective services to parolees to reduce the soaring number of parolees being returned to prison and reduce the costs associates with housing the parolees returned.
Instead of waiting until a parolee tested positive for drugs or developed problems, Delancey Street residents assigned to the BASN Network evaluated the needs of the offender upon release from prison and made aggressive program and service referrals and placements immediately. BASN workers assisted county staff in evaluating the population current drug and alcohol programs were serving so that existing programs could be expanded to serve the parolee population and new programs could be created to fill gaps in service. BASN workers coordinated the full continuum of services necessary for successful completion of parole, including residential and out-patient recovery programs, job development and training programs and supervised independent living programs in the six Bay Area counties. BASN workers developed relationships with new service providers where resources were limited or non existent; expanded services for parolees with current service providers; worked with agents to place parolees in specific programs; negotiated contracts with service providers giving preference to parolees and allowing enough time in the program to promote necessary life changes, especially among serious substance abusers; and , most importantly working with individual parolees in BASN on a daily basis. After 3 years BASN was evaluated as extremely successful and Delancey Street turned it over to the Department of Corrections to contract it out as part of its on-going programs.