The San Francisco Sheriff’s Department is like no other sheriff’s department in California, or possibly the nation. Programs are focused on improving the life skills of prisoners so that when they return to their communities they are less likely to commit new crimes. A dedicated staff of Deputy Sheriffs and program personnel administers educational programs, drug and alcohol treatment, counseling, horticulture and community programs proven to cut recidivism and begin interaction and healing between offenders and communities.
A significant number of ex-offenders with violent histories are released from the San Francisco County jail system into the communities of Bayview Hunters Point, Western Addition, and the Mission District. In order to address the dual problems of violence in these neighborhoods and recidivism in the jail system, the San Francisco Public Defender and Sheriff’s Department have initiated the No Violence Alliance Project (NoVA) to provide individualized, intensive community reentry support to violent ex-offenders.
LFA Group Engagement:
In March 2007, the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department engaged LFA Group, in partnership with Pendergrass-Smith Associates, for an 18-month evaluation of the NoVA Project. The evaluation aimed to answer key questions about educational, employment, housing, substance use, psychosocial and criminal justice outcomes of the clients who participate in the NoVA Project, and to assess the functioning of the administration of the NoVA Project. Before designing evaluation tools and methods, LFA Group developed a NoVA Project logic model and specific outcome measures in close collaboration with the project’s case managers, Sheriff’s Department, and other NoVA Project staff. Data collection methods included an IRB-certified quasi-experimental Recidivism Study, Client Outcomes Survey, interviews with in-custody NoVA participants, NoVA staff interviews and focus groups, and an analysis of the NoVA Case Management Database. In September 2008, the NoVA evaluation was renewed for an additional 16 months and expanded to other in-jail and re-entry programs for offenders in San Francisco, including the Women’s Re-entry Center, and Roads to Recovery.