From “Lifer” to Community Member: Making It Work

Dr. Jon Stern, Dwayne Cooks, Maria Richard & Jessica Mazlum

When inmates who have been incarcerated for long periods are released, they face unique challenges. In California, three-strike and mandatory minimum sentences led to a significant population of inmates serving life sentences. With recent reform, many of these long-term offenders are being released to community supervision. A Parolee Service Center in San Francisco blends behavior change treatment, including life skills, substance abuse and cognitive behavioral therapy, supported by evidence-based practices. Employment and programs, along with parole oversight successfully reintegrate these individuals into the local community. Called the Long-term Offenders Program, this curriculum includes funding and oversight from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation in partnership with Pit Stop, a residential reentry center program where participants live and receive treatment and training.

Jon Stern

Jon Stern is a Chief Deputy Regional Administrator for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Division of Adult Parole Operations Southern Region. Jon was one of the architects in DAPO’s Peer Re-entry Navigator Networks program, which brings successful Long-Term Offenders to assist newly released ex-offenders back in the community as well as focusing on Lifer Responsivity. Today, Jon oversees community programming, re-entry, programs, business services, Regional Training Unit, California Parole Apprehension Team, San Diego, Tri-City, and San Gabriel Valley Districts for the Southern Region. Jon is also an adjunct professor who teaches courses in criminal justice, psychology, and community re-entry.

Dwayne Cooks

Dwayne Cooks is responsible for supervision and monitoring of Pit Stop employees, as well as data analysis and reporting for the Pit Stop Program. Dwayne has more than 14 years of experience as a Parole Agent and recently retired as the Chief Deputy Administrator for the California Division of Rehabilitation and Parole’s Division of Adult Parole Operations, where he was responsible for the supervision of field operations for 19 counties. Dwayne has an AS Degree Electronics/Computers and more than 30 years of experience in the field of law enforcement. As one of the project’s designers and a hands-on site supervisor, he is familiar with what is required of Pit Stop employees to successfully complete their probationary sentences and integrate into society. He also leads training and support of interaction with Pit Stop patrons and the community.

Maria Richard

As program director, Ms. Richard is responsible for overseeing a complex set of reentry service programs rooted in evidence-based programming for parolees. She oversees various parolee groups including behavior change treatment, employment and life skills training, substance abuse treatment and connections to valuable community resources. Maria has more than 17 years working with GEO Care at the Parolee Services Center, a program that serves parolees referred by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and the Federal Bureau of Prisons. In addition, she oversees the Long-Term Offender curriculum that meets the needs of the population who have served 20 plus years in prison. Maria previously worked with juvenile offenders for more than 10 years.

Back to Workshop Schedule

Conference Links:

Attendee Registration

Exhibitor/Sponsor Registration

Hotel Reservations

2017 Award Nominations