40th Anniversary Ceremony features former inmates who completed substance abuse treatment programs and have turned their lives around
More than 300 graduates of substance abuse treatment programs administered by Walden House in the greater Los Angeles area over the past year will participate in the “Celebration of Achievement and 40th Anniversary Ceremony” at the University of Southern California. The “Giving Hope – Changing Lives” event honors former inmates who have overcome their addiction and moved on to independent, productive lives.

“Each of these graduates is a testament to the importance of providing California inmates effective substance abuse treatment so that they can turn their lives around,” said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) Chief of Staff Brett Morgan. “Successful treatment also stops the revolving door of offenders returning to prison when they commit a new crime while under the influence of alcohol or drugs and makes our communities safer,” he said.

For over 15 years, Walden House has administered in-prison and community-based substance abuse treatment programs under contract with CDCR.

“We are proud that so many offenders who graduate from our programs have been able to transform their lives and successfully reunite with their families and communities,” said Demetrius Andreas, CCS, Vice President of Community Reentry Services for Walden House.

According to CDCR’s newest recidivism data, the return-to-prison rate after two years for offenders who completed both in-prison and community-based substance abuse programs in FY 2005-06 was 35 percent compared to 54 percent for all offenders.

Approximately 1,200 attendees are expected to participate, including family; friends; supporting agencies such as the Mayor’s Office, Playa Vista Jobs, Region III Parole Headquarters; and the faith-based community.
“Walden House continues to be a strong partner with the California corrections system in providing high-quality substance abuse treatment services to help our inmates address underlying problems that have led to their addictive behavior and help them recover,” said Sherri Gauger, Deputy Director of CDCR’s Office of Substance Abuse Treatment Services.
Walden House currently provides the following services to California offenders:

In-prison substance abuse treatment programs at the Valley State Prison for Women in Chowchilla and the California Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison at Corcoran; and Trauma-Informed Substance Abuse Treatment at Leo Chesney Correctional Facility in Live Oak, California.

Substance Abuse Services Coordinating Agency (SASCA) re-entry services to incarcerated men and women participating in CDCR’s in-prison substance abuse treatment programs and who are paroling to the Los Angeles area (Parole Region III) to assist with the transition from in-custody treatment to community-based treatment.

Community-based residential programs, including the Female Offender Treatment Employment Programs in El Monte and Treasure Island, the Transitional Treatment Facility for Men in Inglewood, and the Transitional Treatment Facility for Women in Los Angeles.

Community-based outpatient services, including the Hill Street Outpatient Program in Los Angeles.

The In-custody Drug Treatment Program, an intermediate sanctions program for parolees at risk for being returned to state prison due to drug abuse while on parole.

Despite reduced funding for rehabilitation programs due to state budget reductions, CDCR has restructured its substance abuse programs to continue to provide quality services and reach as many inmates as possible. Under CDCR’s new model, the department will be able to serve 8,500 inmates in 12 prisons and one community correctional facility annually and 12,000 offenders in community aftercare.
Link to photographs of CDCR’s Walden House programs: https://www.flickr.com/photos/37381942@N04/sets/72157623510405773/

Link to video, Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility treatment program: https://www.youtube.com/CAcorrections#p/u/40/y-042I7NeD8

For more information on CDCR substance abuse programs: https://www.cdcr.ca.gov/DARS/index.html.