SANTA MARIA – Twenty-six former prison inmates were part of a pair of modified graduation ceremonies to celebrate their accomplishments at the Day Reporting Center.
The first ceremony was held Friday, with another slated for today. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the staff at the DRC scaled down their commencement proceedings, though still wanted to host meaningful ceremonies honoring clients that have successfully completed the re-entry program, said Raquel Zick, spokeswoman for the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department.
Participants signed up in advance for appointments at the DRC, engaging in a personal celebration with their families to receive their completion certificate, congratulatory letters from the community and have their photos taken wearing their commemorative cap and gown, Ms. Zick said.
As has been the case in previous ceremonies, Community Partner awards and special recognition awards including Client of the Year and Community Service will be presented. Sheriff Bill Brown, who normally serves as the keynote speaker, prepared a pre-recorded video message applauding the effort and accomplishments of the graduates to better their lives and wishing them well in their future endeavors.
All 26 graduates are former state prisoners who were referred to the center from their parole agents and participated voluntarily. Clients work with case managers and employment specialists to set specific vocational, educational and personal goals to help them make positive changes in their lives. The topics include substance abuse treatment, cognitive behavioral intervention, employment services, career planning, school counseling, transitional housing support and service opportunities.The centers were opened in 2010 by the Sheriff’s Office and Community Solutions, Inc. To learn more, visit www.csi-online.org.