- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 11, 2015

LOS ANGELES (AP) - California’s top law enforcement official announced an initiative Wednesday aimed at keeping ex-cons in Los Angeles County from committing new crimes.

The private- and federally funded “Back on Track LA” program detailed by state Attorney General Kamala D. Harris aims to reduce recidivism through job training, counseling and other measures to prepare inmates for life on the outside.

The pilot program involves 90 men who have been convicted of crimes that aren’t serious, violent or sexual.

While in county jail, they will be given access to high school and college-level classes, behavior and career training, and courses in life skills.

The in-custody program also will provide family and health services and even tattoo removal, a statement from Harris’s office said.



Harris, who is a Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, announced the program during a visit to Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.

The program will offer released inmates help in finding housing, jobs and continuing education. The county Probation Department will provide coaches to monitor and assist participants for a year, the statement said.

Those who wish to continue working toward high school or college diplomas can transfer credits earned behind bars to Five Keys Charter School or California community colleges.

The program is a partnership with the county sheriff’s and probation departments and other agencies.

“Reducing recidivism is key to a smart-on-crime approach to criminal justice,” Harris said.

The program is similar to a successful “Back on Track” program that Harris unveiled in San Francisco in 2005 when she was district attorney there, her office said.

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