MARTINEZ -- Community groups will face an exhaustive and competitive process if they hope to win a piece of the $4 million Contra Costa County will spend this year on services that help keep former state inmates on the straight and narrow.

A county supervisor subcommittee set out a months-long "request for proposal" timeline Monday morning that calls for awarding the money by June 1. The funds come from a portion of the $19 million a year the state sends the county to manage the roughly 400 felons it shifted into local custody under state prison realignment legislation that took effect last October.

Eligible community-based services vary widely, but all intend to reduce the numbers of prisoners who re-offend once released from jail. Services include one-stop centers where ex-felons can easily access programs, services, substance abuse treatment, job training, housing subsidies and mental health services.

The dollars are divided based on where the former inmates live, with 40 percent going to eastern Contra Costa County and 30 percent each in western and central Contra Costa County.

Bidders with existing county contracts such as Rubicon will find the process familiar, while some of the fledgling inmate service nonprofit organizations may find the extensive documentation, auditing and reporting requirements difficult.


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To help small, new and potentially innovative organizations compete, Contra Costa Supervisor John Gioia said the county will encourage the established organizations to take promising new groups under their wings.

Frustrated with delays and controversy, the supervisors' subcommittee is also recommending a dramatic expansion of the Community Corrections Partnership, a coalition of law enforcement, court and county leaders charged with overseeing realignment under the state legislation.

The panel would go from seven to 14 members, with supervisors appointing most of the new members, including County Administrator David Twa. In addition, the supervisors will select the police chief representative rather than allow the Contra Costa Police Chiefs Association to make the choice.

The smaller existing panel clashed for months over its budget -- including whether money should be set aside for community based organizations -- until it finally reached compromise six months after the fiscal year had started.

Panelists required in the legislation include the county's chief probation officer, presiding judge, district attorney, public defender, sheriff, a chief of police and a county department director such as social services or mental health.

Contact Lisa Vorderbrueggen at 925-945-4773, politicswithlisav.blogspot.com or Twitter.com/lvorderbrueggen.