By Delinia Lewis, CRM
California Institution for Men
Warden Dean Borders recently hosted 29 faculty and students from California Polytechnic University at Pomona (Cal Poly) for a Correctional Symposium at the California Institution for Men (CIM).
The symposium, held Feb. 16, was the brain child of renowned author and scholar Renford Reese, Ph.D.
The symposium featured inmates from all walks of life with various prison terms. During the two-hour symposium, inmates shared their history, what led them to prison, and gave insight on their daily struggles and journey to rehabilitation. Students asked questions of the inmate panel and received candid responses about topics such as prison politics, Proposition 57, and institutional life as a transgender inmate.
CIM’s goals is to collaborate with colleges to assist the CDCR in its mission of inmate rehabilitation, and this program takes a progressive and innovative approach to raising community awareness and educating college students interested in the criminal justice system.
“Many of these inmates had no hope before Proposition 57, and now they are receiving release date. Now there is hope they have a future, and we (PEP) want to prepare them for that future,” said Dr. Reese.
Dr. Reese has been a professor in the political science department at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, for 21 years. He has traveled to 100 countries and is the faculty coordinator of several study abroad programs at Cal Poly Pomona.
He is a regular guest columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News and the author of nine books. He is also the author of the Starbucks “The Way I See It” Quote #294.
In 2009, Reese was awarded the prestigious Fulbright Scholars Award and lectured in the American Studies program at the University of Hong Kong. He was featured on ESPN’s “Realizing the Dream” series and appears as a commentator on the Biography Channel’s mini-bios on Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson. He is the founder of the Prison Education Project (PEP), the Reintegration Academy for Parolees, and the Colorful Flags program. He was the recipient of the George P. Hart “Faculty of the Year” award at Cal Poly Pomona and the Haynes Foundation Faculty Fellowship. Reese has been a Visiting Scholar at various institutions over the years.