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City Council OK’s $398,000 Contract for Gang Reduction Project

Published on Wednesday, June 18, 2014 | 4:58 am
 

The City is giving previously incarcerated gang members another chance at success in life.

Pasadena is set to enter into a $398,000 contract with the nonprofit Flintridge Center for a project that seeks to reduce the number of gang members in Pasadena, and equip former members with skills for employment.

The California gang reduction, intervention and prevention (CalGRIP) program will be financed by a grant from the State of California, said Commander John Perez of the Pasadena Police Department, adding that only 20 of over 480 municipalities in the state were granted the funding.

Two previous CalGRIP grants were awarded to the City of Pasadena in 2010 and 2012, used for the mentoring of high-risk students, high school credit reclamation, and programs for their personal development, apprenticeship preparation and case management.

Officials said the grants enabled the city to reduce gang membership, school dropout levels and behavior issues of middle school students, increase attendance rates of students, improve their personal development and increase their career opportunities.

This year, the project will “take a different route” as it focuses primarily on “reintegration of people who just got out of prisons,” Perez said.

“We are trying to provide a path for people who had been arrested, but are now in the right state of mind and want their lives to be better,” Perez said. “It’s frustrating for people who want a better life but doesn’t have enough services provided to them.”

The $398,700, CalGRIP program together with the Pasadena Reintegration Resource Fair and the Apprenticeship Preparation Program, will strengthen the city’s current efforts in giving opportunities to the 1,127 gang members, composed  mostly of young adults, who wish to turn their lives around.

The City after receiving the grant will redirect the money to the Flintridge Center, which in turn will match the amount with cash or in-kind services through fundraising efforts and in collaboration with other city organizations.

The Pasadena Police Department and the Flintridge Center collaborated in November 2013 on an application for the 2014/2015 CalGRIP grant project. Officials said the Flintridge Center was chosen as the city’s partner based on the organization’s previous involvement with CalGRIP projects and extensive leadership activities in Northwest Pasadena.

“I think it’s a problem when we have young people with potential but due to lack of opportunity are contributing negatively,” said Flintridge Center president Jaylene Moseley. “[The project] is about hope, opportunity and transformation.”

The project will enable 40 formerly incarcerated/gang impacted individuals to receive individual case-management services. Half of them will enroll in further education or job training, and are expected to gain employment within nine months. Less than 30 percent of those who receive case management services are deemed high risk of re-offending within 12 months of enrollment.

“Some people are born with disadvantage. And so from the moment they were born, they don’t have opportunities,” Moseley said. “If we can create opportunities for everyone then we can create a much healthier community where we all prosper and everyone does well.”

CalGRIP will also provide hands-on assistance to 60 formerly incarcerated/gang-impacted individuals every month, half of whom are expected to indicate that the assistance has made a difference in their physical, emotional, social or mental health and well-being, officials said.

Former gang members will complete 16 hours of “evidence-based life skills training” annually under the program. Fifty percent of them are expected to demonstrate improved life skills after completing the training, according to the CalGRIP plan.

The project will be expanded through partnership with the City of Duarte in providing services to the beneficiaries in the northwest San Gabriel Valley.

To ensure the effectiveness of the project, officials said the program will incorporate education services from the US Justice Department’s comprehensive gang model community mobilization, which recommend involvement of local citizens and community groups. Fifteen agencies are expected to enroll in the intervention institute annually.

The outreach services will include jail community outreach and referrals to assist individuals outside of case management. It is also set to strengthen public policy advocacy aimed at increasing employment and housing opportunities among the beneficiaries.

The techniques that will be applied during the training include comprehensive, researched-based case management; expansion of outreach services and referrals to assist individuals outside of case management; public policy advocacy aimed at increasing employment and housing opportunities; and providing technical assistance and support to the City of Duarte.

The CalGRIP grant was introduced in 2007 by the California Emergency Management Agency to confront the increase in gang members throughout the state. Since 2007, grants totaling more than $60 million have been awarded to support efforts to reduce gang and youth violence in California.

For those incarcerated previous gang members who wish to know more about the services they can get through the CalGRIP program may join the reintegration fair on June 18 and every other third Thursday of the month. Contact the Pasadena Police Department at (626) 744-4501 or Flintridge Center at (626) 449-0839 for more details.

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