ACJP//De-Bug Family Member Featured in Mercury News for Innovative New Re-Entry Program!

At a forum ACJP//De-Bug held at the end of last year, as Santa Clara County imagined the best ways to build a realignment strategy that reduces recidivism, Steeda McGruder gave her testimony as an offering of hope to a crowd of community members, elected officials and public safety officials. She shared a vision of peer mentorship built from ideas she developed while she was incarcerated. She called her dream “Sisters That Been There.” She made her dream real, and now Sisters That Been There has become a unique blueprint of redemption, re-invention and tangible impact. Check out the Mercury News profile of her success story!

Ex-convict with ‘street cred’ leads unique San Jose support group for repeat offenders
By Tracey Kaplan

For a Santa Clara County contract employee, Steeda McGruder doesn’t exactly have a pristine résumé:

Age: 29

Occupation: Drug dealer/user, thief

Work history: In and out of custody for past 17 years

Attitude during last jail stint: Angry, suicidal, high-risk (allowed out of maximum-security cell only every 48 hours to shower)

So why has the probation department eagerly put her on its payroll at $400 a week?

Because officials believe her criminal record, powerful rap and magnetic personality make McGruder the ideal person to run a support group for recently released repeat female offenders called “Sisters That Been There.” Continue reading

Coming Up: Bills on Juveniles, Reentry, and Sentence Enhancements

Our friends at the Criminal Justice Information Network sent us an update on upcoming bills coming out of Sacramento that impact our communities. Checkout the descriptions of five below. We met one of the authors of AB 1706, the one about jury trials for juveniles facing strikes, and she makes some powerful arguments. — Posted by Raj Jayadev

From the Criminal Justice Information Network — The Assembly Public Safety Committee has scheduled its next hearing for March 20th. The Senate Public Safety Committee will hold its next hearing for March 27th. Letters of opposition or support are due to the Public Safety Committees one week prior to the hearing in order for your organization to be listed in the committee analysis, or official background information for the bill. Below are a few bills to watch out for as we approach March 20th. Continue reading