Twenty people were honored in a graduation ceremony for the Monterey County Day Reporting Center, run by GEO Reentry Services, on May 20. Their success was profiled in The Monterey Herald in a feature highlighting the benefits of the program.
The DRC requires participants to undergo intensive cognitive behavioral therapy as well as life skills courses designed to influence and support success after they graduate from the program. To graduate, participants must also remain sober and find employment or enroll in schooling.
One participant who was interviewed for the story told the paper the intensive program works because of its focus on the individual. “It’s about you,” Matthew Swall, a 31-year-old veteran who struggled with a drug addiction, said. “It really changes your way of thinking.” Though Swall said he wasn’t happy about having to attend the DRC after rehab didn’t work, the center eventually became a blessing for him.
He was able to secure a job providing mechanical maintenance for a private military company. He hopes to enroll in college.
Respect and treating participants as individuals is a core part of the DRC’s approach. County Probation Services Manager Gerry Dudek attended the ceremony and told the Herald, “You are not born a crook. A lot of these folks did not have good role models, and we want to change that behavior.”
Dudek shared successful figures from the DRC including that among 175 graduates in the past six years, only 43 have gone on to commit a crime or violate probation. The numbers compare to a statewide recidivism rate of nearly 70% among inmates released from jail.
Dudek also said approximately 70 percent of participants in the program are able to secure a job by the time they leave. Because finding employment can be difficult for individuals with a criminal record, GEO Reentry emphasizes teaching the skills needed to gain and keep employment in its reentry centers.