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For Immediate Release:

August 31, 2015

Second Chance Women’s Re-Entry Court in Los Angeles County Supports Recovery and Reduces Recidivism

LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (Public Health) highlights the effectiveness of the Second Chance Women’s Re-Entry Court (WRC) jail diversion program in reducing recidivism in women in a new report Health and Public Safety Impacts of Sustaining a Women’s Jail Diversion Program in Los Angeles County. The rapid Health Impact Assessment (HIA) examined the potential health, social, and criminal justice impacts of continuing the WRC program, and the results showed positive outcomes and cost savings.

Funding for the WRC program in Los Angeles County was initially slated to end in June 2015, but has been extended until December 2015. The rapid HIA examined the potential health, social, and criminal justice impacts of continuing this program beyond the scheduled end date.

The WRC is a jail diversion program for women who are charged with non-serious, non-violent or non-sex offender felony crimes or probation violations. Rather than going to jail, these women are enrolled in an intensive residential program followed by outpatient treatment. The program provides mental health and substance abuse treatment, housing assistance, employment resources, and family reunification services. WRC was initially developed as a pilot program in 2007 and since then has provided services for more than 300 women with histories of substance abuse, mental health, or trauma.

“Women constitute the fastest-growing segment of people in U.S. jails and prisons,” said Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, MD, MPH, Interim Health Officer for Los Angeles County. “Women in the criminal justice system often suffer from mental health problems, chronic drug and alcohol addictions, and trauma histories, and are more likely than men to be the primary caretaker of children prior to incarceration. Overall, the approach of diverting women to a rehabilitative treatment facility increases their likelihood of recovery.”

The rapid HIA combined available data to evaluate the program’s impact in a variety of areas including; reduced recidivism rates, economic benefits of jail years saved, mental health, substance use, relationships, employment, and housing stability.

Major findings of the Assessment for the Women’s Re- Entry Court program includes:

The HIA recommends continuing funding to sustain Women’s Re-Entry Court, using integrated treatment services as a standard of care in the criminal justice system, providing additional staffing resources to support participants in finding housing when transitioning from residential to outpatient treatment, and providing aftercare support to graduates when transitioning back to the community.

The assessment was completed in collaboration with Los Angeles County’s District Attorney’s Office, Public Defender’s Office, Department of Probation, Department of Public Health’s Substance Abuse and Prevention Control Program, the Countywide Criminal Justice Coordination Committee, LAC Superior Court, and the treatment provider Prototypes. This work was funded in part by The California Endowment and the Health Impact Project, a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

To view the full report “Health and Public Safety Impacts of Sustaining a Women’s Jail Diversion Program in Los Angeles County” online, please visit

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, or The California Endowment.

The Department of Public Health is committed to protecting and improving the health of the nearly 10 million residents of Los Angeles County. Through a variety of programs, community partnerships and services, Public Health oversees environmental health, disease control, and community and family health. Public Health comprises nearly 4,000 employees and has an annual budget exceeding $900 million. To learn more about Public Health and the work we do please visit www.publichea, visit our YouTube channel at com/lapublichealth, find us on Facebook at, or follow us on Twitter @LAPublicHealth.