The Merit Partners/Free Venture Program at N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility recently donated money to a victims program.

The Merit Partners/Free Venture Program at N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility recently donated money to a victims program.

By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Photos by Katie Henne, Parole Agent/Victim Services
N.A. Chaderjian YCF  and O.H. Close YCF

Repairing and fine tuning computers has helped youth offenders earn a wage and give back to crime victims.

The Merit Partners/Free Venture Program at N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility (NACYCF) in Stockton recently donated $9,110.52 to support San Joaquin County Victim Witness Assistance.

The charitable event was held at the NACYCF library. Special guests included Merit Partners/Free Venture administrator Rusty Bechtold and San Joaquin District Attorney Tori Verber-Salazar.

The Free Venture Program was established by the California Prison Industry Authority to provide work experience at juvenile facilities.

Merit Partners is a non-profit organization established to train and connect high-risk young people to a positive future through its electronic reclamation business.

At NACYCF, the workers fix computers that have been damaged or are unproductive.

Offenders are paid wages comparable to what they would earn if they were working in the respective field outside the prison.

“This is a great opportunity for the juvenile offenders to make money, and give back for the crimes they’ve committed and the people they’ve hurt,” said Bechtold.

Just like in any other job, federal, state and local taxes are withheld from an offender’s gross earnings. Restitution is also collected and placed in a “Generic Restitution Fund” for local crime victim organizations such as the San Joaquin County Victim Witness Assistance Program.

District Attorney Verber-Salazar presented the youth from Merit Partners with a certificate of recognition for their contributions to the Victims of Violent Crimes in San Joaquin County.

The certificates were signed by state Senator Cathleen Galgiani and Assemblymember Susan Eggman.