SAN JOSE (KPIX 5) – Santa Clara County supervisors have unanimously approved a plan to offset rent for newly-released three strikes inmates.

The plan calls for the county to pay as much as $1,000 a month to help pay the rent for the first year after release for inmates who were once destined for life in prison. It is aimed at helping parolees who spent more than a decade behind bars get back on their feet and avoid repeat offenses.

“If they fail again they will go back to state prison at a cost of $60,000-a-year for those of us that are taxpayers and they may end up climbing through your bedroom window, or mine, at 3am. That is not something we want to see.” said Supervisor Joe Simitian.

The passage of Proposition 36 in 2012 allowed prisoners facing life sentences for crimes deemed “strikes” by the California criminal justice system to petition a judge for a new sentence, leading to the release of about 70 Santa Clara County inmates.

At the time, proponents of the bill, including Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen said he thought the proposition made it more likely that the punishment would fit the crime. In all, some 3,000 California inmates could be released as a result of the vote.

The final details of the rent subsidy plan have not yet been worked out, but the money will be paid directly to landlords.

“There needs to be a limitation on the amount of money. There needs to a limitation for how long this help is provided for,” said Simitian. “We need, I think, to make sure that people are working, at least after a reasonable period of time.”

The assistance will begin on January 1st, and will be handled through Santa Clara County’s Re-entry Resource Center.

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