Participants in a voluntary program that encourages attorneys to "adopt" adult and juvenile parolees will be honored at an awards luncheon in Irvine today.
Similar to the Big Brother/Big Sister program, Volunteers in Parole (VIP) of Orange County pairs attorneys with parolees in an effort "to stop the revolving door of recidivism," said Janeen Foreaker, program director of the Anaheim-based organization.
VIP started in California in 1969 after Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger challenged attorneys to play a part in helping parolees become law-abiding citizens.
The Orange County operation began in 1982, working solely with California Youth Authority parolees. In July, 1993, the California Department of Corrections joined VIP to provide assistance to adult parolees. Orange County is the only program that works with both adults and juveniles, Foreaker said.
"It's supposed to be a fun program," according to Foreaker, who said attorneys sometimes take parolees out to hockey or baseball games, help them look for jobs or make financial plans, "or just meet for breakfast on a Saturday."
"It introduces (parolees) to something new--it expands their horizons a little bit," Foreaker said. "Usually they've been dumped on for a lot of years. They're sick of the drugs, they're sick of the gangs. They want to start doing something."