An inmate participates in the Gold Coat program at the California Institution for Men (photo taken from video).

An inmate participates in the Gold Coat program at the California Institution for Men (photo taken from video).

Journalism student films documentary at California Men’s Colony

By Bill Sessa, CDCR Public Information Officer

As the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation inmate population ages, it faces the same issues that aging causes in communities across the state and the nation.  That includes increasing rates of illnesses such as dementia and Alzheimers disease, which impairs an inmate’s ability to take care of themselves.

The Gold Coat program at the California Men’s Colony, in which healthy inmates buddy-up with those who need their help, offers benefits to the impaired and healthy alike.

Recently, Shawn Baldwin, a student at UC Berkeley’s renowned Graduate School of Journalism, reported on the program for a class assignment.

“It seemed to be a unique and interesting program that dealt with some of the broader issues facing the US – longer prison sentences and prison reform,” said Baldwin, a 10-year veteran reporter who discovered the program while reporting crime issues for a Bay area newspaper.

“The individuals I met on my visit to CMC were very generous with their time and very open to telling their stories in a way that really helped me understand their lives,” he added.  “It was a real privilege for me to be there and I think it’s a great program that benefits all parties involved.