By Lt. Darren Chamberlain, A.A., Public Information Officer, Salinas Valley State Prison
Inmates at Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) donated $3,500 to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for Monterey County.
The inmates are involved with the Freedom Within Prison Project (FFWP), a self-help group at the prison, and recently raised money for the SPCA’s “Take the Lead Program.”
Gary Tiscornia, executive director of the SPCA for Monterey County, and Amanda Mouisset, pet behavior specialist along with canine Jane, recently visited SVSP and the FWPP inmate participants to personally thank them for their donation and support.
The “Take the Lead Program” is geared toward helping local at-risk youth by teaming them with a well-tempered but untrained shelter dogs. They work to achieve targeted training goals as they prepare the dogs for adoption. This program helps the youth with developing relationship skills, leadership and setting and achieving goals.
“Days like this are very precious and needed to show us that we are doing the right things now,” said inmate participant Keith Anderson.
“One of the benefits to the FWPP group is it allows us to do fundraisers to help out the community,” said inmate Michael Vansickel. “The SPCA not only helps out the animals, but also helps out the children who are in trouble, who are on the wrong path, and that is why I really love this self-help group.”
The Freedom Within Prison Project’s purpose and goal is to teach inmates how to take responsibility for their thoughts, feelings and actions by making a positive shift in their lives.
This program has been active at SVSP for the last two years and is supported by the FWPP organization in Santa Cruz.
SVSP opened May 1996 on approximately 300 acres in Monterey County. The institution provides long-term housing for approximately 3,430 minimum- and maximum-custody male inmates and employs 1,395 people.