SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Tuesday marked graduation day for more than 80 formerly incarcerated people who successfully completed an extensive re-entry program with the Day Reporting Center.
The program, which has locations in Santa Barbara and Santa Maria, is designed to help people transition back into society and reduce the number of people who return to prison after serving time.
The commencement event featured speeches from the recipients of special recognition awards.
Many attendees were teary eyed after listening to a moving speech from one award winner, Ivan Rizo, who talked about how the program helps people stay out of jail. The speech led to a standing ovation.
Ivan Rizo, who was named Client of the Year, emphasized, "The old way of just sending us back to prison, sending us back to jail... that takes us nowhere. That takes us back to the environment we know.”
The graduates were able to receive guidance on transitional housing, career planning, counseling, and other areas that helped them to become reintegrated into the community.