Recently released inmates and Tulare Co. schools

March 3, 2013 12:00:00 AM PST
Tulare County is drawing heat over funds it approved for a drug and rehab facility located next to a school.

For nearly 50 years the Paar Center in Porterville has provided inpatient treatment for people suffering from drug and alcohol addiction. In the past, the non-profit has received funding from Tulare County's Health and Human Resources department.

The Tulare County Board of Supervisors approved $150,000 to go towards the Paar Center to help treat recently released inmates as part of AB-109. These specific clients are former inmates whose offenses would normally have had them sentenced to state prison, but because of AB-109 they served time in county jail.

Mike Innis, Tulare Co. Supervisor said, "The type of clients which we the probation put in here are the same type of clients that have always been here they're nonviolent non sex offenders."

The Porterville unified school superintendent recently expressed concerns with Tulare County supervisors over their lack of communication with the school district on their plans with the AB-109 money.

Dr. John Snavely. Porterville Unified Schools Superintendent said, "What I was really looking for when i presented to the board of supervisors was just asking to be a partner in the dialogue of the type of clientele they will be receiving."

Some parents and the Porterville unified superintendent aren't concerned with what the Paar Center does, but the fact that they're treating recently released inmates so close to a school.

The Paar Center's five buildings sit right next to Belleview Elementary School. Snavely says the facility has always been a good neighbor but he's worried the county has approved a change in the type of clients they will be treating.

Snavely said, "It's been very specific and focused as to who they serve. Now my fear is that definition is broadened and they can send other individuals who aren't quite as low risk."

Rudy Pina of the Paar Center said, "We have a really good success rate we help the community we have people in our programs that do night watches in the area so i don't think it's a real concern as far as safety."

Pina says the facility does not receive sex offenders and those they treat are heavily screened by the probation department.

Snavely hopes he will be included in discussions once the Paar Center's contract with the county is up for renewal in July.


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