I am assigned to the vocational landscaping program. The news that we will lose our program came as a major disappointment on one level, but not so surprising on another, considering the California budget cuts.
The program is so beneficial to men striving to get as prepared as possible for reentry into society. This is another broken commitment by the state to rehabilitate its prisoners.
I’m very fortunate in having a parole date and with this advantage over fellow inmates serving life sentences I feel a responsibility both to myself and to lifers to prepare myself for society and not return to prison and continue the revolving door that allows the corporate prison industry to exist.
San Quentin has become not only a state prison, but also an opportunity for self-help programs that exists in few other prisons. One who has a positive attitude and outlook toward a bright future can take advantage of programs like our vocational landscaping, not only to learn the rewards of creating a new life with our hands, but also to nurture work ethics and instill pride in accomplishment.
Mr. Leyva gives each of us an opportunity to learn a viable skill for the outside world and through his instruction gives us choices that we will face in society this program is in place is viable as a vocation and has already proven not to be a financial burden on the department.