In the front, from left, are Charles Turner, Compton College student, Assemblymember Mike A. Gipson, District #64 (yellow coat), Senator Steven Bradford, District 35 (red tie); Yesenia Lopez, F.I.S.T Vice-President; and Theodore Somers, F.I.S.T President. In the back, from left, are Eloy Ortiz Oakley, California Community Colleges Chancellor; Dr. Kevin Curry, Compton College President; Dr. Joseph L. Lewis, Compton College Student Adviser; and Cecilia V. Estolano, Board of Governors President.

By DAPO staff

The Division of Adult Parole Operations’ (DAPO) Harbor District and an important partner were recently honored for giving parolees a hand up through education.

The Board of Governors and the Foundation for California Community Colleges recognized the Formerly Incarcerated Students in Transition (FIST) program by presenting them with the Dr. John W. Rice Diversity & Equity Award. The award honors the program’s focus on promoting social mobility and enhanced diversity within California’s community colleges.

Compton College invited DAPO’s Harbor District Administrator Diana Ronquillo to be part of the award ceremony due to the District’s vital role in the FIST program’s success.

The organization provides academic, social, and economic support for students reentering the community after incarceration. Since DAPO’s partnership with Compton College last year, FIST gained momentum and increased its student enrollment and membership.

“This type of partnership between Compton College and DAPO goes a long way to help to decrease recidivism, make communities safer, and help formerly incarcerated individuals integrate back into society on a positive track,” said Compton College Student Service Adviser Dr. Joseph L. Lewis.

State Senator Steven Bradford, from the 35th District, and Assemblyman Mike A. Gipson, from the 64th District, also honored Compton College and DAPO for the program’s success.

In keeping with the focus on rehabilitation emphasized in the 3 Years to Excellence plan, DAPO’s Harbor District has worked in partnership with Compton Community College since August 2016 to encourage and enroll newly released parolees to become students at the college.

Harbor District holds its monthly Parole and Community Team meeting at Compton College. On its campus, Compton College introduces newly released offenders to its educational programs and resources. FIST is one of those resources.

From left, are Dr. Kevin Curry, Compton College President; Dr. Chelvi Subramaniam, Compton College Dean of Student Services; Diana Ronquillo, DAPO Harbor District Administrator; Dr. Joseph L. Lewis, Compton College Student Adviser; Theodore Somers, F.I.S.T. President; Yesenia Lopez, F.I.S.T. Vice-President; Bailey Smith, Compton College Director, Student Equity Program; and Charles Turner, Compton College student.