Frequently Asked Questions

Click on any of the questions below for more information.

Community supervision, or community corrections, is a group of programs that provide for the supervision of individuals convicted of crimes in their local community.

The two most common types of community supervision are probation and parole. These can be completed alongside other programming like a halfway house, day reporting, substance abuse treatment, mental health services, and vocational training.

Parole is always controlled by each state’s department of corrections. Each state gives its parole board different levels of freedom to determine whether an individual will be released from prison and placed on parole.

Probation is a period of supervision in the community by a local agency, such as the Probation Department. It is ordered by the court as a substitute to incarceration, or as an alternative to parole for Post-release Community Supervision (PRCS) clients coming out of prison.

At sentencing, judges choose the length of time the defendant must serve on probation. A person on probation is also ordered by the court to follow certain conditions, which typically include reporting to a Probation Officer, following the law, not having any contact with victims, and not possessing firearms. Probation conditions may also include participating in educational or employment programs, not using alcohol or drugs, abiding by a curfew, and not leaving the county.

A Probation Officer wears many hats. At different times, they can take the role of social worker, advocate, or law enforcement. They enforce the conditions of probation and help you to understand and follow the directives of the Court. They also help you build a case plan, connect you with different services, and help you rebuild your life after being incarcerated. 

Your DPO can link you to a variety of services through the Probation Department. These services are funded with state monies, paid by the Probation Department, and delivered by contracted Community Based Organizations (CBOs). CBOs are non-profit organizations working to help the members of the community by providing a range of services.

Some of the services offered by CBOs and funded by the Probation department include:

  • Employment and job readiness programs
  • Career Technical Education Programs (Apprenticeships)
  • Substance Abuse treatment services
  • Education, Cognitive Behavior Therapy services
  • Mental health treatment and counseling services
  • Public Benefit Enrollment
  • Family Reunification Services
  • Parenting classes
  • Legal advice and counseling
  • Domestic Violence Courses
  • Identification (ID) and barrier removal services
  • Housing assistance and temporary housing

In May 2011, the US Supreme Court ordered California to deal with prison overcrowding by reducing the population in the state’s 33 prisons within two years. In response, the California legislature and Governor Edmund “Jerry” Brown passed two laws that year: Assembly Bill 109 in  and Assembly Bill 117.

AB109 established the Public Safety Realignment Act of 2011, which allowed for non-violent, non-serious, and non-sex offenders who are released from California state prisons to be supervised by probation officers at the local county level instead of state parole officers. To help manage the shift of responsibility for tens of thousands of individuals from the state to the counties, the state gave funding to the counties.

The ‘realigned population’ consists of individuals sentenced with a 1170(h)-eligible offense who are serving their time in county jail, parole violators adjudicated in local courts, and Post-release Community Supervision (PRCS).

PRCS clients are individuals released from prison for non-serious and non-violent offenses, and are not classified as high risk sex offenders, who are being supervised by local probation agencies.

If they do not violate the conditions of their probation, a PRCS client typically serves one year on probation as opposed to three years of parole.

California is comprised of 58 different counties, all with unique resources. Some resource information can be found online and can be difficult to obtain in hard copy format. Please contact your local CDCR or Probation Office to learn more about specific resources in your area. The California Reentry Council Network also maintains a list of stakeholders from counties throughout the state that you can reach out to for local resource information. Visit calreentry.com.

If you are currently incarcerated and seeking to gain acceptance into a program upon release we recommend you write the program directly. Your CDCR counselor, probation officer, or public defender may be able to help you with the process.

Apply anyway; do not let your current circumstances discourage you. Acceptance into a reentry program can be a condition of your release. Continue reaching out to programs listed in this resource or other resource guides.

Beyond the information communicated below, it is recommended that you confirm with an enrollment agency/service provider the current eligibility for receiving benefits or services.   http://www.benefitscal.org/

CalWORKs

CalWORKs is a public assistance program that provides cash aid and services to eligible families that have a child(ren) in the home. The program serves all 58 counties in the state and is operated locally by county welfare departments.

Specific eligibility requirements include an applicant’s citizenship, age, income, resources, assets and other factors. Generally, services are available to:

  • Families that have a child(ren) in the home who has been deprived of parental support or care because of the absence, disability or death of either parent.
  • Families with a child(ren) when both parents are in the home but the principal earner is unemployed.
  • Needy caretaker relatives of a foster child(ren).

You can only apply for CalWORKs once you have been released from prison or jail, and you have active custody of a child as a parent or caretaker.

https://www.cdss.ca.gov/calworks

CalFresh

If you have been convicted of any misdemeanor offense or convicted for any felony offense, including serious or violent offenses, your criminal record does not affect your eligibility for CalFresh.  Being on probation and/or parole does not impact your eligibility for CalFresh.  An incarcerated individual does not qualify for CalFresh while they are incarcerated because the individual is considered a resident of an ineligible institution (jail/prison). An individual is considered a resident of an institution when the institution provides them with the majority of meals as part of the institution’s normal services. Residents of ineligible institutions are not eligible for CalFresh. However, once the individual is released and no longer residing in an ineligible institution, the individual may qualify for CalFresh if in compliance with their terms of their parole or probation.  If you have a release date, you should look into the possibility of applying for CalFresh starting 30 days.

https://alamedasocialservices.org/staff/work_tools/handbooks_and_newsletters/wba/foodstamps_handbook/63-4-17.cfm

Social Security Benefits

An individual released from incarceration may be eligible for Social Security retirement, survivors, or disability benefits if they have worked or paid into Social Security enough years. An individual released from incarceration may be eligible for Supplemental Security Income benefits if they are 65 or older, are blind, or have a disability and have little or no income and resources.

https://www.ssa.gov/reentry/benefits.htm

https://www.ssa.gov/pubs/EN-05-10133.pdf

First, contact your probation officer. Typically, the municipality which has been assigned to supervise you will require you show proof you live in another county. Next contact your attorney or public defender and ask to be put back on calendar and file a 1203.9 request to the court. These requests always have to go through the courts. If approved, the current probation department contacts the receiving agency and verifies the address before proceeding. This process can take anywhere from 3 to 6 months.

A transfer of your parole supervision has to be initiated by your parole agent. In most circumstances, verifiable, permanent housing must be established for your transfer to be considered.

For individuals supervised by the Alameda County Probation Department, contact your Deputy Probation Officer for a housing referral or call 510-268-7050 to be connected to the Officer of the Day, if you do not have an assigned Deputy Probation Officer.

For individuals not supervised by the Alameda County Probation Department, call 211 for information on rental housing, emergency shelter, transitional housing, and other housing resources. 211 can also provide more information about Alameda County’s Coordinated Entry System for those experiencing homelessness. You can also visit www.achousingchoices.org to search for affordable housing in Alameda County.

Coordinated Entry is a process developed to ensure that all people experiencing a housing crisis have fair and equal access and are quickly identified, assessed for, referred, and connected to housing and assistance based on their strengths and needs. Call 211 for more information or go here: http://everyonehome.org/our-work/housing-crisis-response-system/

Expungement is a court-ordered process in which the legal record of an arrest or a criminal conviction is erased. While usually an expunged arrest or conviction will not appear in a public records inspection or background search of an individual’s criminal record, it is not necessarily completely erased. Certain government agencies, such as law enforcement or courts involved in immigration proceedings will be able to see an expungement in a person’s criminal record.

After the expungement process is complete, an arrest or a criminal conviction ordinarily does not need to be disclosed by the person who was arrested or convicted.

Clean Slate programs help clients with expungement, dismissal of convictions, early termination of probation, employment denials due to criminal background reports, occupational licensing denials, and certificates of rehabilitation. The Alameda County Public Defender’s Office launched a county-wide Clean Slate Program in April 2013, and works with the East Bay Community Law Center to help clients prepare expungement applications. They have walk-in clinics at the Public Defender’s office. In order to be eligible, you must not have any pending criminal cases, and not be on parole.

A Certificate of Rehabilitation is a petition requesting that the court declare that a person convicted of a felony is now rehabilitated.  Once granted, the Certificate of Rehabilitation is automatically forwarded to the Governor of California as an Application for Pardon. A granted Certificate does not guarantee that a Pardon will be granted.

To be eligible for a Certificate of Rehabilitation, at least 7 years must have passed since you were discharged from parole or completed your sentence (whichever is later), you must have lived in California for the last 5 years, and you must have fully complied with all laws since the completion of your sentence or discharge from parole.

The Public Defender’s office provides information and guidance on the process of applying for a Certificate of Rehabilitation.

You can find all the Probation offices on the Alameda County Probation Department website: https://probation.acgov.org/about-us/locations.page

To find your Probation Officer/DPO, use the following numbers. Adult Field Services Information Services Line: (510) 268-7050. Juvenile Justice Center Information Services Public Line: (510) 667-4488.

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