By Lt. Eduardo Mazariegos, AA/Public Information Officer
Salinas Valley State Prison
Salinas Valley State Prison (SVSP) in Soledad recently hosted its fourth tour for at-risk youth to participate in the Life-CYCLE (Careless Youth Corrected by Lifers’ Experiences) program.
The group is made up of inmates from SVSP’s Facility C Yard – a Level IV, 180-design (maximum security), general population facility.
The youth were given a tour of the prison yard and a housing unit. Inmates spoke to the youth on a variety of topics such as family values and self esteem, effects of poverty, peer pressure, impulsive behavior, gangs, drugs, negative thinking, attitudes towards authority, women in their lives, positive thinking, goal setting, manhood and overcoming adversity.
Different inmate presenters spoke about their life experiences and afterward, the inmates and youth met in small groups to discuss the topic. During the group discussions, the inmates encouraged the youth to share the challenges they may be experiencing with the topic just presented. The inmates provided the youth with reasonable and positive alternatives to help the youth avoid the choices the inmates made in their lives that have resulted in decades of incarceration.
The goal of the program is for the inmates to share the common backgrounds they hold with the at-risk youth, explain the mistakes and bad choices they have made and demonstrate the repercussions to those acts. It is each Life-CYCLE inmate’s hope that the youth don’t follow in their footsteps.
At the end of the day, the youth shared their newfound reasons for not wanting to come to prison and what goals they will set for themselves to prevent that from happening.
For more information about the seminar, contact SVSP Associate Warden Ed Borla at (831) 678-5534.