Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry courtLoading
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, looks over school work for her niece An'Tanayah Richards, 6, left, as nephew Da'Vontae Richards, 9, looks on at right on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Muhammad her 11-month-old son plays in the foreground. Dixon, one of a handful of women who have qualified for the re-entry program has it tougher then the male offenders because there is no dorm style facility for her to live. She also has to juggle the childcare of her son to attend the mandatory classes in the program. For this she and her sister share babysitting duties for the children with the help of her father.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon says she hopes she will succeed in the re-entry program for Muhammad her 11-month-year old son on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. At left is her nephew Da'Vontae Richards, 9. She credits her Probation officer Travis Braden for keeping her on track with the program. "I can't let him down," said Dixon.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon reviews homework with her nephew Da'Vontae Richards, 9, left, and niece An'Tanayah Richards, 6, with Muhammad her 11-month-year old son in her arms on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. After a full day of classes herself in the re-entry program for realignment she comes home to care for the children.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Afraid to show his report card to his mother Da'Vontae Richards, 9, shares it with his aunt Sonnita Dixon on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. "This is not good Da'Vontae, you should not have been allowed to go out and play today," she explains to her nephew. Most nights Dixon is left to watch her sister's two children and her son as her sister goes out in the evening and doesn't return until very late at night. Dixon took on the responsibility to review and sign the report card in her sister's absence.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, washes a plate to eat macaroni and cheese mixed with hamburger she made for her son Muhammad Afzal, 11-months, niece An'Tanayah Richards, 6, right, and nephew Da'Vontae Richards, 9, on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Living on the edge of poverty An'Tanayah eats out of a plastic container. Dixon who attends mandatory day classes in the re-entry program for realignment cares for the children at night while her sister goes out with friends. Her landlord has asked that she evict her sister because she is not on the lease.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, pulls Muhammad Afzal, her 11-month-old son over to the couch to eat a dinner of macaroni and hamburger she cooked for diner on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. In background is her nephew Da'Vontae Richards, 9, and not pictured is her niece An'Tanayah Richards, 6, who also live with her. Her sister and her two children have since moved out of the apartment but she will continue to help babysit them. Her sister didn't pay rent but she did help keep the refrigerator stocked. Dixon worries about how she will be able to do that now.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    As her dad steps outside to take a cigarette break Sonnita Dixon, 34, and her son Muhammad Afzal, 11-months old, get some fresh air outside an apartment where Sonnita lives with her sister and her two children on Thursday January 23, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. She is dependent on her dad and sister to watch her son because there is no daycare support for her to go to the Adult Day Reporting Center every day as part of her re-entry program.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    As her father steps outside to take a cigarette break Sonnita Dixon, 34, and Muhammad Afzal, her 11-month-old son, take a break outside of their apartment. Dependent on her father to now be the sole support babysitting for Muhammad she hopes she can still succeed in the re-entry program.She has been asked to evict her sister, nephew and niece for not being on the lease. Although her sister didn't pay rent she helped provide food and babysitting. She will also need more childcare when she starts class at Breining DUI school for first offenders in the evening.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, scolds her nephew Da'Vontae Richards, 9, and tells him he has to do the dishes because he got a bad report card on Wednesday January 22, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. She wishes there were parenting classes to help her figure out the best way to raise her 11-month-old son Muhammad. She says attending mandatory day classes as part of the re-entry program and DUI night classes leave very little time for parenting classes. Her hope is to attend cosmetology classes at City College when she completes the program.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, explains that she asked her sister Tahesha Smith, 27, to move out to her caseworker Ivonne Ellis, right, but it's up to her to go on Thursday January 30, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Smith offered to call her landlord with her to help straighten out her landlord issues.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon hopes to study cosmetology at City Collage as reflected on her success card that she moved up to the level 2 position on Thursday January 30, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. As part of the re-entry program for realignment students are asked to focus on their future and create a plan of action on how to succeed.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, center, most recently was one of two women admitted into the re-entry program for realignment until the first one dropped out. Most of the students are males since they make up a majority of the prison system. Here she answers questions during a Seeking Safety class on Thursday January 30, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Her advisors in the program say she is doing well in all her classes.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, leaves the day reporting center at the Sacramento County Probation department to catch the light rail back home to care for her 11-month old son Muhammad Afzal on Thursday January 30, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. She spends several days a week taking classes as part of the re-entry program for realignment.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon hugs a former inmate Azenia Corleone that she knew in prison while waiting for light rail to take her home on Thursday January 30, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Corleone was doing community service by collecting litter around the light rail stop close to where she now lives after being released from prison a few days ago. Last September, Sacramento probation officers conducted a routine search on Sonnita Dixon's apartment and discovered 20 grams of cocaine. They took the 34-year-old woman to jail and procecutoors filed charges against her Ð for the 22nd time in the past 14 years. As a low level offender Dixon has been accepted into a re-enter court as part of the County's realignment program.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, left, depends on her father Gary Dixon, 52, to help care for Muhammad Afzal her 11-months old son while she spends her days at an Adult Day Reporting center as part of a re-entry program for realignment on Thursday January 23, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. She wishes she could find a free daycare for her son while she takes the mandatory classes which also include a class at Breining DUI school in the evening for first offenders.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, left, depends on her father Gary Dixon, 52, left, to help care for her son Muhammad Afzal, 11-months old while she spends her days at an Adult Day Reporting center taking mandatory classes as part of a re-entry program on Thursday January 23, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. So far she and her caseworker have found a dead end for any daycare for her son so she depends on her father and sister to help take care of him. Her father lives close enough to walk over and help provide daycare most mornings. Here he helps her cut up potatoes to make fish and chips after she returned from her day a the center.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sacramento Superior Court Judge Larry Brown, left, goes over files of lower-level offenders with a team of officials from every branch of the county's criminal justice system including Deputy District Attorney Chris Carlson, center, on Friday January 31, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. “We’re seeking to address offenders with long criminal histories and trying to get them on a different path,” said Sacramento Superior Court Judge Larry Brown, who presides over the weekly re-entry court sessions. “I think that’s one of the charges we have under realignment, to look not just at the offense, but at the offender – what drives his or her criminality, whether it’s drug abuse or mental illness or a combination of both, or lack of opportunities, and see if those factors can be addressed.” The idea, Brown said, is “to reduce the number of inmates serving in the criminal justice system at any given time,” the ones responsible for the state’s worst-in-the-nation recidivism rate of 70 percent measured three years out from their release from prison.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, left, goes over her living situation with Paige Hein, Assistant Public Defender on Friday January 31, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif., before entering the courtroom for her question and answer with Sacramento Superior Court Judge Larry Brown who presides over the weekly re-entry court. In the foreground is Muhammad her 11-month-old son. Contrary to the males in the re-entry program there are no dorm style rooms for the women and no daycare for her son which makes her case more difficult.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, right, joined by Muhammad her 11-month-old son in stroller, center, and Probation Officer Travis Braden, left, explains to Sacramento Superior Court Judge Larry Brown how stressed she is because she has asked her sister to leave but she has no control if she will or not on Friday January 31, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Dixon was facing eviction if her sister did not vacate the apartment because she was the only one on the lease. Sonnita depended on her sister to help care for her son while she was in mandatory classes.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, 34, pushes Muhammad, her 11 month-old son, out of re-entry court on Friday January 31, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Sacramento's experimentation with re-entry court, now in its sixth month, obtains guilty or no-contest pleas from defendants like Dixon and sentences them to fairly substantial terms in county jail. Then the court suspends the sentences and holds the time over the offenders' heads to force them through a year-long immersion in drug-treatment, vocational, educational and other programs designed to contract their criminal ways of thinking. "If you want to change , if you don't want to do that time, you're going to do the program," said Sonnita Dixon who took the re-entry court path beneath the sword of a three-year, eight month country jail term.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Travis Braden leads the way into Sonnita Dixon's rental apartment for an unannounced inspection on Tuesday February 04, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif., just past her sister Tahesha Smith's belongings. Smith had moved into Sonnita's apartment since her return from Atlanta but wasn't on the lease and the landlord wanted her out. As part of the re-entry program Dixon is subject to random probation searches.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Probation officer Travis Braden searches though Sonnita Dixon's bedroom as Muhammad her 11-month son sleeps on her bed on Tuesday February 04, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. He found several bus passes and a prescription for pain medication that he questioned her about. The medication was for her father who cares for her son while she is in re-entry court classes.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon, right, credits Travis Braden, left, for supporting her as her sister Tahesha Smith, dog Masiah and two children moved out of her apartment Tuesday February 04, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. "It's really stressful. She is my sister," explained Dixon whose landlord forced her to evict her sister and her family because she was not on the lease. "I have no choice I don't want to be evicted and then loose all that I've worked for," said Dixon. "I have to push forward."
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    After Sonnita Dixon's sister Tahesha Smith moved out of her apartment she stepped outside in relief to smoke a cigarette and drink a cup of coffee with Muhammad Afzal her 11-month-old son near by on Tuesday February 04, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif. Her nephew and nieces bicycles still remain in the apartment and she will still help care for them.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Although Sonnita Dixon felt bad to have to evict her sister Tahesha Smith, 27, on Tuesday February 04, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif., she knew to stay in the re-entry program she had no choice. Her landlord said her sister created to much traffic in and out of the apartment and the dog was creating a mess in her room. Smith carefully cleaned up everything and moved to her father's place next door with her dog and children. Dixon did not have to evict her she left on her own accord.
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
  • Sonnita Dixon pushes on in re-entry court
    Sonnita Dixon said she was very excited to give Muhammad Afzal, her 11-month-old son, his own room on Tuesday February 04, 2014 in Sacramento, Calif., after her sister Tahesha Smith, her dog Masiah and two children moved out. "i've got to keep on pushing," she said. "I'm not in position to have come this far and then lose everything."
    Renée C. Byer | rbyer@sacbee.com
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