Close to 60 formerly incarcerated individuals are participating this week in modified graduation ceremonies to celebrate their accomplishments at local Day Reporting Centers.
There was one ceremony on Thursday in Santa Barbara, and another one is taking place today in Santa Maria.
The staff at the DRC scaled down their highly-attended commencements in light of COVID-19, while still planning to host meaningful ceremonies honoring clients who have successfully completed the comprehensive re-entry program.
Participants attended and will attend outdoor celebrations at their respective DRC during which they will engage in a personal celebration with their families to receive their completion certificate, congratulatory letters from the community and have their commemorative cap and gown photo taken.
As in the previous ceremonies, Community Partner awards and special recognition awards including Client of the Year and Community Service will be presented.
Santa Barbara County 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 of the graduates are former state prisoners who were referred to the DRCs 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 range of topics include, but are not limited to, substance abuse treatment, cognitive behavioral intervention, employment services, career planning, school counseling, transitional housing support and service opportunities.
The Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Office and Community Solutions Inc. opened the Day Reporting Centers in 2010.