Meeting the Challenge: Sonoma County’s Juvenile Hall Partnership with the Boys and Girls Club

Kids who end up in Juvenile Hall have done something illegal. Why should their stay there be anything other than punishment? As the head of Sonoma County’s Juvenile Hall told me, “The kids in here today are going to get out, and they are going to be your neighbors, and your kid’s classmates.” Punishment is part of it, but so is rehabilitation. That’s why Sonoma County Juvenile Hall has formed a unique partnership with the Boys and Girls Club in their community.

“The Club” took over some space inside Juvenile Hall, installed some games, computers, and lightened up the institutional look with paint, posters and some comfortable furniture. They provide activities, fun, and a safe environment for the kids to play, to learn, and to be just kids for a while, instead of kids in “Juvi.” But the most important thing “the Club” provides is incentive. The Club is the carrot at the end of the stick. Continue reading

Meeting the Challenge: San Bernardino County’s Making Attendance a Priority (MAP) Program

Truancy is a major issue in many communities — and San Bernardino is no exception. Truancy can also have significant impacts beyond hindering education. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, “Dropouts are poorly prepared to enter the workforce and require greater expenditures for social services and criminal justice process than do graduates.”

The San Bernardino County Public Defender’s Office was seeing the impacts of truancy first-hand. “Truancy is a big indictor on whether or not kids are going to continue in the juvenile justice system or are able to break out and get on with their lives, explained Assistant Public Defender Chris Gardner.” We had been looking for a way to get more involved, to partner with the schools to work on the truancy issue.” Continue reading

Meeting the Challenge: Tulare County’s Teen Digital Media Lab

When Faythe Arredono talks about Tulare County’s Teen Digital Media Lab, her eyes light up. That sparkle is only matched by the teenagers who participate in the program. Ask the likes of students Araceli Mendoza or Vincent Macareno and you can see why this program has such a positive impact.

Tulare County library staff knew they could do a better job of connecting teens through the library, but the question was how. “We tried some things. Some worked, some didn’t, but we could never really get anything off the ground,” explained County Librarian Jeff Scott. That’s where Faythe Arredondo comes in. She was hired in 2011 as the County’s first-ever Teen Services Librarian. Right away she started exploring ways to get teens engaged digitally. With the help of a grant from the California State Library, she was off and running. Continue reading

Meeting the Challenge: Tehama County’s AB 109 Auto Shop

Everyone likes a “Win-Win” situation—a solution to a problem that meets everyone’s needs. In Tehama County, they had a problem, and the solution they came up with has been a “win” on several levels. The AB 109 Auto Shop won a 2013 CSAC Challenge Award because it is reducing the jail population, training inmates, saving money for the Sheriff’s Department AND reducing costs and downtime for other county departments when their vehicles need maintenance and repairs. Here’s how it works.

A couple of years ago, Tehama County Sheriff Dave Hencratt needed to reduce his jail population and find ways to reduce recidivism in his community. This was all part of AB 109—Public Safety Realignment—a state law that transferred a significant number of low-risk criminal offenders from state jurisdiction to the counties. Continue reading

What Does Open Mean?

Hey, have you seen BART’s new official app?

Nope, you haven’t. Know why?

They don’t need to spend money making their own apps. They just put all their data online in an open format and everybody else goes ahead and makes apps for themselves.

What’s more, these other people do it the way they want, so BART doesn’t have to guess at what features and format its… Continue reading