At-risk youth get taste of prison thanks to program at CSP-Corcoran

Ten at-risk youth were given a taste of prison life thanks to 25 inmate volunteers at CSP-Corcoran.

Ten at-risk youth were given a taste of prison life thanks to 25 inmate volunteers at CSP-Corcoran.

Inmate volunteers share stories to help kids avoid incarceration

By Lt. Stephen Babb, AA/Public Information Officer
California State Prison, Corcoran

California State Prison-Corcoran recently hosted at-risk youth from a Tulare County High School on one of its facilities as part of its Rehabilitating Educating And Creating Hope (REACH) program.

REACH provides a structured program at CSP-Corcoran for all juveniles in surrounding counties.  Participating juveniles are referred by school district offices, mentoring programs such as the Boys & Girls Club, community youth groups or probation departments.

Juveniles must be carefully screened by their school faculty, administration or organization. A participating juvenile must have shown a propensity for juvenile delinquent type of behavior such as detention, fighting, vandalism, truancy, gang association, drug use, etc., as identified by the referral agency.

The REACH program helps at risk youth re-direct their lives by volunteer inmates sharing their stories with the youth. The volunteers give insight to the youth on the effects of negative behavior and what their consequences may be if they choose to continue down their negative path. It also reminds them not to take for granted the freedoms they have in life now and that the choice is theirs.

The 10 youth were given a tour of the facility including a housing unit, gymnasium, recreational yard and dining hall, where they had a state lunch with staff and the 25 inmate volunteers. The youth heard speeches and stories from the inmate volunteers about how their bad decisions have affected their lives and the lives of their loved ones. While helping steer young people away from risky behaviors, the program also helps inmates in their rehabilitation by giving back, according to officials with the program.

Inmates spoke of the poor choices that landed them behind bars, hoping to give the youth some insight into their possible futures if they continue on the same path.

Inmates spoke of the poor choices that landed them behind bars, hoping to give the youth some insight into their possible futures if they continue on the same path.

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8 Responses

  1. Jannette Thursday, December 1, 2016 / 10:12 am

    Its amazing how inmates grow in a very humble, respectful way and see life in a very different way after being incarcerated for many years. Im very happy that they take the time to teach our youth and give them a second chance to turn around and do the right thing. We dont give inmates enough praise for doing stuff like this. Im very proud and I dont even know them . Thank you!

  2. Virginia Monday, November 14, 2016 / 10:28 am

    Perhaps the State issued lunch will be sufficient as a deterrent. Great program-Thanks for some good news and your efforts.

  3. Valerie Wednesday, November 9, 2016 / 11:12 am

    An ounce of Prevention, is worth a pound of Cure…!

  4. D. Mizell Wednesday, November 9, 2016 / 10:06 am

    I would be very interested to find out how the youth that were involved with this felt about it and if it changes any of their decisions six months to a year down the road in a follow-up article.

  5. Eddington Wednesday, November 9, 2016 / 10:00 am

    I am really glad to hear that this program is active again. The youth today have no idea of the consequences of their actions until its too late. We are seeing more youth receiving life in prison for their crimes when maybe a program like this could have prevented it.

  6. Mike Tuesday, November 8, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    There’s nothing more powerful than hearing someone’s story. Thanks for your investment in the next generation!

  7. Nike Tuesday, November 8, 2016 / 2:29 pm

    More of this should be carried out in all schools in America, to give the students the privilege to know what life behind bars looks like. I guess that will give some student a change of mind, and turn away from their bad behaviors. Thanks for the one conducted.

  8. Barbara Tuesday, November 8, 2016 / 10:49 am

    Thank you for letting the young men see how their lives will end up if they continue to do their drugs, stealing and gang association. Thank you to the inmates that stood up and took responsibility for their actions that landed them in prison. They have a better chance to survive when they are released from prison. And a huge thank you to the prison for the program.

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