Reentry Renaissance: Transforming Community-Based Reentry Services for Successful Reintegration


Tuesday, February 27, 2024
8:00 AM - 9:00 AM
Session Type: Workshop

This session will explore how coordinated community-based reentry programs and service providers with lived experiences can improve the health and well-being of individuals recently released from jails, especially in reducing future contact with the criminal legal system. The Los Angeles County Justice, Care and Opportunities Department (JCOD) has established a network of programs providing services around employment, mental health, skills training, and connections to community organizations that support people in reaching their goals following criminal legal system contact. Presenters will share the results from the recent reports released by MDRC on JCOD’s Reentry Intensive Case Management Services (RICMS) and Skills and Experience for the Careers of Tomorrow (SECTOR) programs, strategies to translate lessons learned into policy and practice change, and emerging innovations within the field. The session will be moderated by the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center, a training and technical assistance project partner of MDRC.


Robert E. Robinson
Senior Program Manager, Los Angeles County Justice, Care and Opportunities Department

Robert E. Robinson Jr is the Senior Program Manager of the Reentry Intensive Case Management Service Program (“RICMS”) for the County of Los Angeles Justice, Care and Opportunities Department (“JCOD”). RICMS seeks to improve the health and well-being of justice-involved individuals by providing case management and service navigation. RICMS is the largest Reentry justice program in LA County contracting with 24 community-based organizations and clinics who provides direct services and care for the reentry population. Prior to joining the County of Los Angeles, Robert has worked in the non-profit sector at Brotherhood Crusade as the Senior Program Manager of the Boys and Young Men of Color Program, and at Covenant House California as the Director of Supportive Services. In addition, Robert has worked 7 years in Higher Education, and 7 years working for the City of Long Beach Parks and Recreation. Robert has a master’s degree in business administration from Grand Canyon University, and a bachelor’s degree in business administration: Management from California State University, Dominguez Hills.

Ms. Chidi Umez-Rowley, Esq
Project Manager, Criminal Records, Council of State Governments

Chidi Umez-Rowley is a Deputy Program Director with the Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center. In her role, she leads and supports projects that address structural and policy barriers to economic opportunity for people with criminal records and examine how criminal records impact job participation including, occupational licensing and post-secondary education access. Prior to joining the CSG Justice Center, Chidi served as a defense attorney in Harris County, TX and as a Court Attorney in the New York Civil Supreme Court. She also worked in public policy for the Texas House of Representatives. Chidi received a B.A. in English and Corporate Communications from University of Houston, and a J.D. from Texas Southern University, Thurgood Marshall School of Law.

Kate Vacanti
Director, Reentry Workforce and Education Programs , Los Angeles County Justice, Care and Opportunities Department

Kate Vacanti oversees programs providing employment, education, case management, mental health, housing, and other services for people impacted by the justice system in LA County to improve health and economic outcomes and reduce recidivism. Kate designed and launched the Skills and Experience for the Careers of Tomorrow or “SECTOR” program, which provides skills training and paid work experience in high-growth sectors that offer career pathways and family-sustaining wages for justice-involved individuals, and has served 1,700 people since 2021. Kate also manages the Breaking Barriers rapid re-housing and employment program and the College & Career education program. Prior to LA County, Kate was a Senior Policy Analyst with the Council of State Governments Justice Center, where she provided technical assistance to states implementing legislative reforms through the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Justice Reinvestment Initiative to reduce corrections spending and improve public safety. Kate also worked for New York City’s Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act-funded Workforce1 Career Center system, where she managed career center operations and performance and oversaw initiatives to improve career services to help individuals access high quality jobs.