Leading civil rights organizations next week will bring prison experts and advocates to Modesto for a two-day summit on how to reintegrate the state's prison population.
Their discussion is a timely one because of a federal court's August order directing California to release 40,000 of its 150,000 inmates over the next two years.
"How do we prepare the community to reintegrate these people with the situation we're in?" asked Richard Jacques, chief executive of the Homeward Bound advocacy group. "They're going to come back, they're going to get arrested.
"There's a revolving door, but now there's no room for these guys," Jacques said.
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He is among the speakers at the California Black-Brown Summit on Re-Entry on Friday and Saturday at Modesto Junior College. The event features a number of workshops on topics including substance abuse and education.
"All the rehab programs, educational programs have been cut back to the bone," Jacques said about the impact of recent budget cuts on state prisons. "These guys are in worse shape than when they went in, in terms of academia or job training."
The keynote speaker is Matt Cate, secretary of the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. Others include California NAACP President Alice Huffman and Mary Lattimore, warden of the Central California Women's Facility in Chowchilla.
Assemblywoman Anna Caballero, D-Salinas, is scheduled to moderate a legislative discussion Saturday morning. She has announced her intent to run for the state Senate seat held by Jeff Denham, R-Atwater.
"We think it's a unique event in that we're starting to get ahead of the trend of early releases," said Wendy Byrd, president of the Modesto-Stanislaus NAACP chapter.
For more information, go to www.bbsummit.org. Registration includes breakfast and lunch. The summit costs $20 for students and $40 for others.
Bee Assistant City Editor Adam Ashton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 578-2366.