About an hour after teaching his fellow graduates of Johanna Boss High School in Stockton the methodology of a “schoolboy knot,” sharply-dressed Valedictorian Ethan Ragan stepped to the lectern inside the OH Close Youth Correctional Facility auditorium, straightened his own tie, and shared even greater insight for success. “Although we have made some mistakes in our past, and have been through some struggles, we have turned a truly negative situation into a positive one by graduating here before you,” he said. “We know that we are not defined by our past, but by our present, and the decisions we make from here on will determine who we truly are.”
Mother of six and former California Prison Industry Authority (CALPIA) graduate, Vera Salcedo, walked into the Folsom Women’s Facility (FWF) beaming with pride. The June 6 visit to prison was different, in her words “transforming.” Wearing professional attire instead of her prison blues, Vera attended and provided words of encouragement to the female offenders at the graduation ceremony.
alifornia Correctional Institution (CCI) Fire Chief Daniel Turner recently took inmate firefighter David Reeves to the Clark Training Center in Riverside to take a CAL FIRE exam for Fire Apparatus Engineer. Inmate Reeves qualified to take this exam due to his experience and training received at the CCI Fire Department.
Children of incarcerated parents traveled from all over California to Valley State Prison for an early Father’s Day “Get On The Bus” event. Free transportation for children and their caregivers is made possible through a partnership between the Center for Restorative Justice Works and CDCR. The event featured bond-building activities for parents and children, including group art projects, family photos, face painting, music and sports. Each child was sent home with a special letter from his or her parent.
Roughly 100 inmates from Deuel Vocational Institution (DVI), including 15 inmate facilitators from Peacemakers’ Alliance, joined a dozen community volunteers, seven staff sponsors, three DVI medical staff members, Community Resources Manager Martina Virrey and a correctional officer for an event dubbed Spread the Health: A Holistic Health Retreat.
An inmate clerk surprised Marcia Devers, an associate governmental program analyst at Folsom State Prison, eight years ago with a request for her to sponsor an inmate hobby group. The real surprise? The inmates wanted to learn how to crochet. They wanted to make beanies for infants and donate their work to local hospitals. Eight years later, the program is going strong, averaging 30 inmate participants each year and donating items to needy families and children.