Meet Our STEP Team

  From left to right: Tiffany Cordero (Admin), Joe Iacocca (Program Manager), Amy Brinks (QA), Robert Thomas (Clinician), Jessica Ruddle (Clinician), Eric Covotta (Clinician), Karen Reed (Clinician), and Lori Freitas (Clinical Lead).

From left to right: Tiffany Cordero (Admin), Joe Iacocca (Program Manager), Amy Brinks (QA), Robert Thomas (Clinician), Jessica Ruddle (Clinician), Eric Covotta (Clinician), Karen Reed (Clinician), and Lori Freitas (Clinical Lead).

Our Supportive Transition Empowerment Program (STEP), a program of our Family & Children Services of Silicon Valley (FCS) division, serves individuals in the Santa Clara County criminal justice system.

The STEP team provides addiction and recovery treatment services for adults who are incarcerated and in need of continuing care on their recovery journeys.

The team collaborates with clients, families, and systems to prepare for each client’s reentry into the community and then continues treatment upon release. This innovative and seamless coordination of care seeks to prevent relapse, promote well-being, and provide needed supports during the critical transition period following release. Some clients have been incarcerated for some years; the team helps to alleviate the disorientation and isolation clients can experience when adjusting to life outside.

The program has grown and expanded since it began two years ago, and now also offers culturally competent services for adults who are LGBTQI (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Questioning, Intersex) at the Elmwood Correctional Facility.

Clients participating in the STEP program access four service components:

  1. Assessments: The assessment component identifies a client’s individual needs and strengths. The counselor uses the information from the assessment to develop a transition plan, identify resources to which to connect clients post-release, and place the client in outpatient treatment and a recovery residence. Ongoing assessments are conducted to monitor a client’s motivation for treatment and evolving treatment needs.

  2. In-custody psychoeducation: Our in-custody treatment team provides psychoeducational groups, process groups, and referrals with a transition plan.

  3. Treatment: Our transition team meets with the client two weeks prior to release to help arrange for post-custody treatment, medication, transportation, and housing.

  4. Post-release: Our team links clients to treatment and recovery residences and assists clients in navigating the reentry process.

  Sasha Contreras, our clinician who provides outpatient treatment to the LGBTQI population as they are transitioned from in-custody to the community, and Roxanne Stone, who facilitates groups in the Main Jail and Elmwood.

Sasha Contreras, our clinician who provides outpatient treatment to the LGBTQI population as they are transitioned from in-custody to the community, and Roxanne Stone, who facilitates groups in the Main Jail and Elmwood.

In addition, the team has resources to provide each client with a gift card for a hot meal, new clothes from the clothes closet, bus tokens for transportation to appointments, and other items that make transitioning from custody to the community more manageable.

STEP Manager Joseph Iacocca, LAADC/CADC-II, and the team are focused on continually increasing the quality of care provided to clients, while also increasing support from the community to help clients stabilize as they are released from custody.

Over the past six months, STEP has placed an average of 14 clients each month in treatment programs and 17 clients in recovery residences. The program is expected to grow, increasing the number of clients they serve and helping them transition back into the community from incarceration.

You can find the STEP team at 2202 North First Street in San Jose. To learn more, please contact Joseph directly at jiacocca @ fcservices.org.