Month: August 2011

Alameda Probation Chief sees opportunity in prison reform

When David Muhammad became the Chief Probation Officer for Alameda County six months ago, he had big ideas about how to change the system for the better.

“Departments around the country have been good at messing with people and not so good at helping people,” Muhammad said. That’s something he wants to change in Alameda County, especially when it comes to getting low-level offenders integrated into the community after they are released, instead of seeing them land back in prison.

Muhammad got his opportunity to oversee a big shift in corrections almost as soon as he arrived in Alameda County. His appointment as Chief Probation Officer coincided neatly with what many are calling California’s largest prison reform in decades. The change transfers responsibility for low-level offenders to the county, with probation departments playing a key role in the transition as well as the ongoing management of non-violent offenders.

Public transit gets creative to keep seniors mobile

With its operations budget reduced by millions of dollars, Monterey-Salinas Transit (MST) is being forced to make cuts. More than a dozen bus routes are slated for frequency reductions and one will be eliminated. The proposed changes will start later this year, leaving public transit riders with less options and more waiting.

Senior Monterey County residents, who ride for half price, will be among those affected by pending transit route cuts.

Healthcare reform may help homeless get comprehensive care

California’s unprecedented Medicaid expansion in advance of national health care reform is a crucial opportunity to improve care for the homeless, advocates say.

The $10 billion program, called California’s Bridge to Reform, includes increases in health care subsidies for the indigent, including the state’s estimated 134,000 homeless.

Clinic helps chronic ER visitors get healthy

A Sacramento hospital and a community clinic have teamed up in a successful program to help the chronically ill homeless get healthy and housed while reducing the number of visits to local emergency rooms. T3, which stands for triage, transport and treatment redirects Sutter ER patients who don’t require urgent care to one of the Effort’s clinics or community services that can better treat them.

Merced seeks to improve public transit options for seniors

California’s population is getting older, and advocates say seniors will be unable to easily remain mobile, active and independent if policymakers don’t make public transportation a priority.

In the Central Valley town of Merced, seniors are already feeling the pinch of too few options.

“I have a car but gas prices are too high. I use the bus, my walker and this,” said Gloria Gonzales, 61, clutching her motorized wheelchair which she maneuvers through traffic every day to make it to the free lunch program at Merced Cherish Senior Center.

This article is one in an occasional series on aging with dignity, independent living and public policy that affects both. For a complete archive of the articles, click here.

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