A parenting class at CSP-Solano has seen 35 new students graduate from the program.

A parenting class at CSP-Solano has seen 35 new students graduate from the program.

Parenting Inside-Out class sees 35 new graduates

By Tonya Parker-Mashburn, Community Resources/Partnership Manager
California State Prison, Solano

CSP-Solano’s popular Parenting Inside-Out (PI/O) class celebrated 35 new graduates on June 24.

And we are honored to report that Inspector General Robert Barton, Staff Services General Analyst Jana Boccalon, Warden Eric Arnold, and Lt. Marlaina Dernoncourt were there to congratulate the men on their accomplishments.

The 60-hour, evidence-based parent education curriculum is taught by Dr. Mary Jo Bauen, and is sponsored by Community Works West, an Oakland-based non-profit that is based on the principles of Restorative Justice.  As of this graduation, 152 inmates have completed the PI/O program at CSP-Solano since the inception of the program in February 2014.

How is a parenting class held at a prison considered Restorative Justice? 

Restorative Justice is a community-based, victim-centered approach to dealing with crime, the effects of crime, and crime prevention.

Restorative Justice works from a belief that the path to justice lies in problem solving and reparation rather than punishment or isolation.

“Parenting Inside-Out teaches a range of skills that are essential to, and reflect the principles of Restorative Justice,” said Dr. Bauen. “First of all, the curriculum spells out options for disciplining children that are neither punitive nor abusive.”

Bauen explains that the PI/O curriculum emphasizes communication skills and feelings awareness, which are key to problem solving.

PI/O asks participants to reflect on how they were parented, and what they wish to replicate or change with their own children. Participants discuss family values and write family legacies. Finally, the curriculum coaches parents to consider the harm they caused and to make plans to repair broken relationships.

At the graduation, class members demonstrated Restorative Justice principles with stories, poems and parenting plans.

They claimed responsibility for their crimes and shared plans for healing the harm they’ve caused.

One by one the inmates recounted personal and relationship breakthroughs facilitated by a PI/O lesson, a handout, or a co-participant.

They urged CDCR leadership to see the progress they’d made, and to increase the number of self-help programs available.

CSP-Solano is up for that challenge with the greatest number of programs offered among all CDCR institutions, and has many more in the works.

(Editor’s note: Some websites may not be accessible from a CDCR computer.)

For information about Restorative Justice and all of Community Works West’s programs, visit https://communityworkswest.org/.

There were 35 inmates who recently graduated a parenting class at CSP-Solano.

There were 35 inmates who recently graduated a parenting class at CSP-Solano.