This week, the Board of Supervisors took the first steps in expanding the Women’s Reentry Program and establishing a new Women’s Wellbeing Center in the second district. The Board of Supervisors approved a temporary ordinance authority, which allows for 65 new positions, to expand the Women’s Re-Entry Program and staff the new Women’s Wellbeing Center, both of which will improve the continuum of care for formerly incarcerated women with mental illness.

The Women’s Reentry Program, which operates with one team in the second district, helps support women who have recently been released from prison and who have been diagnosed with mental illness by providing a variety of services. The program includes multidisciplinary mental health teams that provide assessment, psychological testing, group and family therapy, anger management, medication support, treatment planning, and case management for participants and their families. In addition to mental health services, ancillary services such as housing, substance abuse treatment, benefits establishment, advocacy, and recreational field trips are also provided. The purpose of these types of reentry programs is to help formerly incarcerated women get the help they need to reintegrate into society and avoid the pitfalls of recidivism. This weeks action would expand the program beyond the second district, making it countywide.

In addition to the expansion of the Women’s Re-Entry Program, establishment of The Women’s Wellbeing Center would play an integral role in the continuum of care by providing a center where women can participate in peer groups, learn vocational and other life skills, and work with a mentor. Throughout the process of receiving services through the Re-Entry program and transitioning to the Women’s Wellbeing Center, participants can continue the progress they have made with their team from the Re-Entry program, which will provide a stabilizing continuity of care.

This program expansion and the establishment of the Women’s Wellbeing Center comes on the heels of another Board action aimed at the rehabilitation of justice-involved women. On October 16th, the Board passed a motion creating a Jail-Based Job Center at Century Regional Detention Facility. Similar to the upcoming Women’s Wellbeing Center, the Jail-Based Job Center will be a place where women can get connected to services, vocational training, and other resources that will help them succeed after re-entry. By improving access to supportive services for formerly incarcerated women like the Re-Entry program and job centers, the County is solidifying its commitment to success for all.