Sheriff’s START team tackles inmate recidivism

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The Sheriff’s Transitional Assistance Reentry Team (START) is a two-person team assigned to West Valley Detention Center. It is dedicated to reducing the rate of re-arrests by helping inmates create a plan to reenter and connect to community resources and service providers before they are released. If needed, the team will transport the individuals directly to service providers upon release.

“We kept seeing a lot of the same inmates coming through the facility, almost daily or sometimes weekly,” said San Bernardino Sheriff Deputy Branden Davault, who created the program. “Because of my past experiences working on the street with the homeless outreach team (H.O.P.E) and noticing the high rate of recidivism and really no reentry services being offered, I realized that something needed to be done.”

A San Bernardino County jail study conducted by CA Fwd showed that ten percent of the people booked in 2015 had three or more bookings that year.

Deputy Davault worked with Captain Donny Mahoney to create a program that would stop high recidivism rates through an intelligent application of resources. They researched programs across the country and devised a program that would work well in San Bernardino County. The team identifies individuals in custody who have multiple bookings and other factors such as homelessness and alcohol or substance abuse. If a person is deemed a good candidate, the team will form a reentry plan and reach out to service providers in the county. The START program won recognition in 2019 from the National Association of Counties.