The Orange County Sheriff's Department (OCSD) operates one of the 10 largest jail systems in the country. With an average daily inmate population of 6,500 in five jail facilities, Orange County recognizes the need to connect inmates with community-based programs designed to help them successfully transition in to the community. Sheriff Sandra Hutchens stated, "The Sheriff's Department is dedicated to identifying collaborative strategies to reverse the trend of criminal recidivism in hope of making a meaningful impact on adult recidivism. We also understand that it is imperative to develop a coordinated effort with other key Orange County stakeholders that promotes community safety and includes various support services for offenders."
In September 2009, Orange County became part of the Transition from Jail to Community Initiative. Goals included developing initial inmate assessment tools, standardizing curriculums, defining agency roles within the reentry partnership, and improving data collection.
Orange County now has an initial screening tool to identify an inmate's level of risk to reoffend. The OCSD has partnered with the Orange County Probation Department to use the same risk and needs assessment tool both in jail and postrelease. Orange County has also implemented "Thinking for a Change" as the standardized curriculum in jail and postrelease. NIC provided training on "Thinking for a Change" to law enforcement, probation officers, and community partners.
Orange County now has many key components of an evidence-based reentry initiative in place to prepare inmates for uccessful reintegration into the community, lower recidivism rates, reunite families, reducing jail overcrowding, and make Orange County communities safer.