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connect / 2015 (RCLA) (RCLA)

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Justice Lab

RCLA helps local leaders hold first-time offenders accountable for the crimes they commit and, in the process, build community. By partnering with prosecuting agencies, RCLA will divert first-time offenders from the criminal justice system before charges are filed and into a volunteer-led program whose goal is to reconnect the first-time offender, who may feel isolated, ashamed, and disconnected, back into the community through service, dialogue, and referral to community resources.

In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following “Connect” metrics?

  • Rates of volunteerism
  • Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support
  • Participation in neighborhood councils
  • Percentage of Angelenos that volunteer informally (Dream Metric)
  • Government responsiveness to residents’ needs (Dream Metric)
  • Attendance at public/open streets gatherings (Dream Metric)

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to connect.

Our criminal justice system is overburdened, expensive, and not particularly effective at reducing crime. Meanwhile, traditional prosecution and sentencing have nothing to do with the place where the crime was committed or even why the crime was committed; defendants are totally divorced from the communities that they affected by their crimes. Furthermore, low-level property crimes are often committed by individuals who feel isolated, ashamed, and disconnected from the people around them. seeks to divert 10,000 would-be defendants from the criminal justice system by 2050 by partnering with local prosecuting agencies and establishing diversion programs that engage local community leaders to help reconnect the would-be defendant to their community, to hold them accountable for the crimes they committed through dialogue, and to work with the would-be defendant to ensure that they never commit a crime again. By building community through RCLA, community leaders can reduce crime and improve the economic well being of their neighborhoods.

RCLA will provide a valuable volunteer experience for community members and training that may prove useful in other contexts. A RCLA volunteer placement would compliment other community activities, such as Neighborhood Council, Community Police Advisory Board, and Homeowner Associations, and allow for a more participatory environment in dealing with neighborhood issues. Furthermore, by implementing an RCLA program, prosecuting agencies would enjoy increased visibility in the neighborhoods they serve, thereby connecting their offices even more deeply with the community.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

Data collection will occur at every stage of the RCLA process and will be ongoing as the would-be defendant progresses through the program. Therefore, opportunities for evaluation will arise at many points.

First, evaluation will occur monthly as RCLA staff and the prosecuting agency review the data collected from the last month of RCLA operations. By analyzing data monthly, stakeholders can learn where crimes are happening, who is committing them, and discover patterns on a micro level.

Second, evaluation will occur once a year to develop a report detailing outcomes that RCLA participants have had, whether they have recidivated, and the effect that RCLA has had on the community through metrics such as community service hours completed by participants, and number of RCLA volunteers.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support