Graduates at the Substance Abuse Treatment Program listen to a speaker.

Graduates at the Substance Abuse Treatment Program listen to a speaker during a Dec. 24 ceremony.

Violence reduction, substance abuse courses see inmates graduate

By Jose Salcido, AA/Public Information Officer
and Ken Phillips, Community Resource Manager
Centinela State Prison

Inmates at Centinela State Prison (CEN) made strides to turn around their lives through the completion of various programs.

Alternatives to Violence Project

CEN conducted ceremonies on two facilities celebrating the completion of advanced level Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops. A total of 40 inmates received completion certificates on Dec. 18 for their participation in the three day workshops.

At the conclusion of the workshops, advanced level participants have completed approximately 48 hours of intensive training intended to reduce violence by teaching new ways of resolving conflict and violent situations and promoting more positive interactions.

Substance Abuse Treatment Program

The CEN Substance Abuse Treatment Program (SAT) acknowledged the accomplishments on Dec. 24 of eight participants who completed the five-month program. CEN launched the program on July 28, 2014, with 12 inmate participants, the first class.

Five months seemed like a lifetime, and as with any new program, there was push-back initially from the inmates, according to organizers. However, after a few weeks, the inmate participants began to develop a sense of community and accountability, they report.

By the end of the program, new ideas were formed by these individuals resulting in a new way of thinking.

Correctional Counselor III Yvette Castillo, the Program Manager, said the eight graduates expressed an alternative way of thinking with their conversations conveying hope, positivity, and accountability vs. being considered a victim of circumstance.

CEN staff is hopeful this program will produce success and ultimately result in inmate participants becoming productive citizens in their community upon their release and thus reducing recidivism.

One of the graduates said he looks forward to becoming a mentor for the new participants, because he believes the program really works.

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