On Father’s Day and all year long, organizations like the Place4Grace are working to ensure families impacted by incarceration stay connected and supported. Through Place4Grace, men incarcerated at Valley State Prison (VSP) were able to hear about the importance of being connected and rehabilitation from an Emmy Award-nominated actor with a powerful story to tell.
A friendly competition is spreading through state prisons, as CDCR’s physical education coaches help their inmate students demonstrate how important a healthy lifestyle is. In addition to teachers, principals and librarians, each state prison employs a coach, whose job is to educate inmates in physical fitness and overall wellness. At California Men’s Colony (CMC) in San Luis Obispo, Coach Bruce Ferrall has taken it to the next level, playing to his students’ competitive natures with the Wall of Fame, which invites inmates to perform various exercises in an attempt to set and beat records.
Change is rippling throughout the California prison system, and an Academy Award-winning musician is helping provide the soundtrack. Teaming up with his friend and movie producer Scott Budnick, the Anti-Recidivism Coalition and the California Endowment, Common spent the better part of a week this spring sharing his music with inmates and staff at four CDCR prisons.
A groundbreaking prison entrepreneurship program is gaining international recognition as an innovative, inspiring way to help incarcerated people “transform their hustle” into positive change. Defy Ventures teaches inmates not just the basics of business, but also how to create a startup, from developing a solid business plan to pitching the idea to investors and implementing the business model.
For four months, Correctional Officer Danny Condon’s infant daughter has battled a rare and aggressive form of leukemia. Through time-bank donations, he’s been able to be there to help his daughter and support his family. Fellow employees at CSP-Sacramento and across CDCR are banding together to help the Condon family.
Three-time Super Bowl Champion Bubba Paris was the keynote speaker for a graduation ceremony at VSP, where 97 inmates received their diplomas. The prison setting was surprisingly fitting for Paris’ talk, in which he shared how he had to overcome his own challenges and accept the things that made him stand out in order to become a success. From his size to his outspokenness, Paris was constantly criticized for being different.
CDCR is leading the way in using innovative programs to support offender reentry, and this fall the federal government recognized that fact.
Court Commissions Leonard Goldkind volunteers his time on a regular basis to evaluate the files of participants in the Male Community Reentry Program (MCRP), a reentry program that allows eligible offenders to serve up to the last 12 months of their sentence in the community program in lieu of state prison. While at MCRP, participants take place in an immersive rehabilitative curriculum focused on successful reentry, from anger management and criminal thinking classes to resume-building workshops and job-search skills.
It’s an exciting time for CDCR, as the department is placing even more emphasis on preparing offenders for success after prison, recognizing that reentry begins long before an inmate paroles.
Partnerships, cooperation and community took center stage at the annual Reentry Solutions conference, a gathering of law enforcement, elected officials, nonprofits and corrections representatives who share the same goal: reducing recidivism and helping offenders succeed.