On Tuesday, the Sacramento City Council is expected to vote on whether it’ll approve opening a facility for convicted felons at a business park on Franklin Boulevard near Florin Road in South Sacramento.
In December, the city approved a conditional use permit for GEO Reentry Services.
According to the company’s regional business development director, Rachel Kienzler, GEO Reentry provides federal felons with the tools and resources they need to get a job and be successful in the community.
“It's really about changing their criminal thinking so that when they make a decision in any area of their life, they're making it in a pro-social way that does not get them back involved in the criminal justice system,” Kienzler said.
Shortly after the city approved the conditional use permit, several South Sacramento residents, along with the Sacramento City Unified School District, asked the City to stop the project from moving forward.
"It is a safety issue because we're going to have former rapists coming out of jail, prison,” said Effie Grant, who filed the appeal. “The grammar schools and the high schools are only a couple hundred feet away.”
The proposed location would across the street from Bowling Green Elementary and close to two other schools.
“Everybody deserves that second chance, everybody does," said Diana Parras, a former inmate and participant at the GEO Reentry facility in Napa.
Napa County’s Chief Probation Officer, Mary Butler, says without a reintegration program, former inmates won’t be successful in changing their old habits.
“Everyone wants someone to change their behavior when they’re coming out of jail, and without a program, the reality is we're not giving people the skill set to change their behavior. They continue to do what they know," Butler said.
Parras has been receiving job training, behavior therapy, and life skills at GEO Reentry since September.
“This is a beginning point of having a routine, a schedule, and a focus," Parras added.
The mother of three tells ABC10 that she went to jail for violating her probation. She was originally put behind bars for domestic violence charges.
“I understand the concerns because I have a little one, but it has to happen somewhere,” Parras said.
Kienzler explains that if the Sacramento day reporting center gets approved, 30 non-violent, non-serious offenders would participate in the rehabilitation program.
“These are folks that are already back in Sacramento because that's their community of origin, and what we want to be able to do is have them be successful so that they're not getting back involved in that revolving door of the criminal justice system," Kienzler said.