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The RAND Corporation, a Santa Monica think tank, is out with a study of how California’s parolees fare once they get back home from state prison, focusing on the four counties with almost a third of the state’s ex-prisoners: Los Angeles, Alameda, Kern, and San Diego. The report says there are eight distinct clusters of parolees in the county, including those in Oceanside, Vista, Escondido, Spring Valley, El Cajon, and Chula Vista, with the largest concentrations of ex-cons living in downtown San Diego, about 12 percent, and Southeast San Diego, with more than 14 percent.

Among other findings: “Whereas many of the parolee concentrations in San Diego County appear to have relatively good accessibility to alcohol- and drug-treatment services, the parolee concentrations near Imperial Beach and National City are in areas with the lowest levels of accessibility.” Regarding mental health care, “A larger share of parolees in Kern and San Diego counties fell into the two lowest accessibility categories than in Alameda and Los Angeles counties.” The report adds that in Kern and San Diego counties, “More Latino parolees resided in areas with lower accessibility to hospitals than did white or African-American parolees.” And the researchers concluded, “One issue that stands out is that in all three of the large urban counties — Alameda, Los Angeles, and San Diego — most parolees resided in areas with the lowest levels of accessibility to general acute-care hospitals, with Alameda County having the largest share of parolees in the lowest accessibility areas.”

In phase two of their study, the RAND researchers, funded by the California Endowment, say they will conduct “in-depth case studies in three of the counties (Alameda, Los Angeles, and San Diego) to explore the issues and challenges parolees face in meeting their health care needs and the factors that affect providers’ ability to provide services to this population.”

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