New program at county jail aims to keep inmates out of jail after their release

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Since prison realignment became law in 2011, the focus has been on keeping low level offenders in county jail instead of state prison.

But here in Kern County 70 percent of all inmates that were released eventually wound up back in jail.

So now jail officials are trying a new approach and are seeing good results with a program called Matrix.

23ABC spoke to inmates in the program about how this might be their last chance to get their lives back on track.

The Matrix program helps select inmates with their addiction and then gives them life and job skills to succeed once they are released. They say they are grateful for the chance.

The program says they are seeing very good results so far.

Inmates say they are grateful for the chance to finally stop the cycle of drugs, crime and jail that dominates their life.      

By keeping them out of jail, county officials hope to ease overcrowding and use budget dollars for housing inmates.

Jail officials say 85 percent of all inmates that have completed the program have continued with the program after their release.

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