Did you know that Encompass offers Re-Entry Services that support individuals who are reentering the community after incarceration? Re-entry programs provide important supports to help individuals successfully transition to life outside of prison and avoid future involvement in the justice system. Get to know our Re-Entry Services team and programs in this post!
Specifically, through a variety of programs, Encompass offers re-entry planning, short-term outpatient mental health therapy, intensive case management, as well as referral and linkage to various supports such as substance use disorder services, employment resources, sober-living environments and pro-social activities. Our Stable Transitions After Re-Entry (STAR) program also provides support to youth who are exiting Probation-based placements and returning to a family-based home environment.
In this post, we’re taking a closer look at two Encompass programs that work with adults who are either currently in custody or on probation and are reacclimating to re-entry.
- The first of these programs is part of Santa Cruz County’s Coordinated Access for Empowering Success (referred to as the CAFES program), a multi-agency continuum of care model led by the Santa Cruz County Probation Department that includes the Santa Cruz County Superior Court, the District Attorney’s Office, County Behavioral Health, and multiple community-based organizations like Encompass. Under this program, Encompass’s discharge planners (meet them below!) conduct client assessments as clients leave custody to help identify individual’s needs and link them to appropriate housing, mental health therapy, and substance use disorder services.
- The second Encompass-supported program we’re featuring this month is the ReTurn Project, which is part of the Santa Cruz Assembly Bill 109 service provider network. Assembly Bill 109 (AB 109), known as realignment, is a measure passed by California voters in 2011 that diverts defendants convicted of less serious felonies to serve their time in local county jail rather than state prison. Through the ReTrun Project program, our staff offers short-term and Intensive Mental Health Case Management to those exiting custody.
Re-Entry Services Manager
As Re-Entry Services Manager, Tracy oversees Encompass’s CAFES and ReTurn Project teams. Tracy’s career in health and human services was inspired more than a decade ago by her experience supporting her 14-year-old daughter through a rough patch. After experiencing how difficult it was to access resources to support her family, she went back to college to pursue a career helping others connect to resources she didn’t have at the time. While in school, Tracy learned about Encompass’s Second Story Peer Respite program. She loved the concept of the program, and the community / family vibe it provided for guests and began volunteering for the program. Less than a year later, she joined the Second Story family fulltime in 2007 as an on-call counselor.
After finishing her master’s degree, Tracy applied to serve as a clinician for Encompass’s Re-Entry programs, but so enjoyed her time at Second Story that she continued serving the program once a week. Even now, as Re-Entry Services Manager, she returns to Second Story whenever she can. Tracy says that the philosophy Second Story embodies — where staff identify as a peers and support guests as equals — has armed her with a powerful foundation and perspective for all of the roles she has had at Encompass. Simply put, she sees people as people and loves connecting with clients as peers to help them realize their potential.
When asked if she had any advice to share with others, Tracy says it is never too late to pursue your passion. After 20 years as a pharmacy tech, Tracy went back to school at the age of 39. Eight years later, she had her undergraduate and master’s degrees in social work and is now in a career she loves. A self-proclaimed jokester, Tracy loves to add an element of fun to the workplace with her sense of humor. In addition to two grown children, Tracy has two cats and a one-year-old grandson. In her free time, she loves hanging out with friends and playing “nerd” games like Catan.
Intensive Case Manager | ReTurn Project
Brooke first joined the ReTurn Project team fulltime about two years ago after working as a counselor at our ALTO South program, where she provided outpatient substance use disorder treatment services for adults. As the Intensive Case Manager for the ReTurn Project, Brooke works closely with clients to help them reach their individual goals as they reintegrate into the community – whether that’s helping them secure foundational pieces like phones or IDs, connecting them with housing, helping them learn life skills like personal planning and time management, linking them with medical or substance use disorder services, or helping them meet their probation requirements.
As Brooke puts it, people reentering the community have so many hats to wear once they leave jail – her role is to help each person determine what they need to feel safe and supported as they move toward their goals. Brooke provides a bridge to resources like Santa Cruz County’s Probation Service Center while debunking fears and stigma around accessing support. She encourages anyone who works with clients exiting the justice system to learn whether or not the client is AB109, as there are so many great resources available to support them. One of the many reasons Brooke loves her job is that she is always on the move. In her free time, she loves spending time outdoors.
Meet Our Two CAFES Program Discharge Planners!
Olivia Mahach & Alma Lopez
As a Discharge Planners, Olivia and Alma work with clients referred through Santa Cruz County Probation to connect them with varying levels of substance use disorder treatment services and supports – from residential treatment, intensive outpatient, or outpatient substance use disorder treatment to sober living environments (SLEs) –based on their individual needs. When they first connect with a new client, Olivia and Alma conduct an assessment to determine the level of support the client may need to be successful. From there, they meet with clients regularly to support their reentry journey. They provide a hybrid of in-person and remote services to best serve clients’ needs.
More about Olivia
Olivia has always been interested in helping the community. Growing up, she volunteered at the Walnut Avenue Family & Women’s Center. She earned her bachelor’s degree in communications and criminal justice from Chico State University with the goal of pursuing social work. After college, she became a probation aid at the Santa Cruz County Probation Office and discovered that she really enjoyed supporting the reentry population. In July 2021, she saw an opening for her current role at Encompass and was drawn to the agency and position because of its involvement with the community and clients. One of the perks she loves most about her work at Encompass is her incredibly tightknit, supportive team. In her free time, Olivia loves going on hikes and spending time in the water.
More about Alma
Alma has always been a big fan of the growth mindset and helping people achieve goals they set for themselves. She completed her undergraduate degree in psychology and loves the benefits therapy can provide to those who seek it. She first joined Encompass in 2019 as part of the ReTurn Project and after about a year she started her current role as a discharge planner for CAFES. One of the things Alma loves the most about Encompass is that the agency offers ongoing opportunities for growth. She feels fortunate to be surrounded by so many passionate people who are skilled in their field. In addition to learning on the job, Alma is continuing her education by pursuing her master’s in counseling. In her free time, Alma loves strength training at the gym and going to see live music.