California Police Chief- Fall 2013 - Page 18

Fontana Re-Entry Support Team Reinventing Approach to Realignment By Martha Guzman-Hurtado 37 year-old Charles Johnson of Fontana is living proof that the Fontana Re-entry Support Team is keeping individuals from re-offending in the wake of realignment. He served three prison terms for countless offenses before deciding to use the program to make a positive change. The F.R.S.T. program helps early release prisoners, individuals with a criminal record and even those without a criminal background who are in need of resources and assistance, to obtain services and job training in an effort to better integrate them into society. “I tell those recently released from prison that are skeptical about accepting police support, that this program is no joke,” said F.R.S.T. participant Charles Johnson. “These police officers want to help keep you out of jail and get you into the workforce.” The F.R.S.T. program is centered on community partnerships. Individuals seeking support are invited to attend monthly meetings where they are exposed to a variety of organizations with available resources. The San Bernardino County Workforce Development Department (WDD), in conjunction with the California State Employment Development Depart- ment (EDD), provides these individuals with a three-day re-entry workshop. These workshops are an integral part of the re-entry process by addressing employment barriers, such as explaining a felony conviction during an interview, resume writing, proper interview attire, and where to seek employment. “The Fontana Re-entry Support Team is not just connecting available government services to those clients in need,” said Fontana Chief of Police Rodney Jones. “The entire community is supporting those who were recently released