All Articles: Prison Programs

H-Unit VOEG graduates prepare for survivor panel

By Wayne Boatwright “If you want to change the path of your life, go to VOEG,” said Kevin Thompson, a recent graduate of the Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) from H-Unit. VOEG is one of a myriad of volunteer-organized rehabilitation programs at California’s San Quentin State Prison.  It meets once a week for two hours […]

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ROOTS graduation offers multicultural self-discovery

By Juan Haines Animated and rhythmic drumming captivated an audience of about 75 prisoners and a dozen Bay Area community members during a Sept. 18 graduation ceremony for a program designed to guide multicultural prisoners on a path toward self-discovery. Several skits and comedic acts brought lots of laughs at the ceremony for ROOTS (Restoring […]

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Keeping SQ Inmates Connected to Their Families

By Emile DeWeaver There’s an old maxim that behind every strong man stands a strong woman. The women of the San Quentin Inmate Family Council (IFC) are standing not behind but in the vanguard, keeping many men at San Quentin connected to their families. IFC supports connections “between inmates and their families through improved communications, […]

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CIW Puppy Program Inspires Hope and Love for Female Inmates

By Danielle Barcheers At first glance many people are taken aback by the sight of inmates walking the prison yard at California Institution for Women (CIW) with a dog at their side. “What is going on?” they may wonder. Maybe you have wondered as well? If you are willing to give a few minutes of […]

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A Violent Death Leads to Forgiveness

By Rahsaan Thomas A 72-year-old woman and an incarcerated Black man shared stories of how they avoided becoming leaders of hate by forgiving the men who committed crimes against their family members. “Forgiving someone who committed an atrocious crime against your loved one is hard to do, but the offender will live in your head […]

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Offenders Earn Employment As Software Engineers Inside San Quentin

By Michele Kane Federal and state-authorized Joint Venture Program allows employment of incarcerated individuals at market wages. The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) has entered into a Joint Venture agreement with California-based non-profit Turn 2 You, Inc., to employ trained offenders within the walls of San Quentin State Prison. The employed offenders will […]

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Sitting in the Fire With the New Graduates of VOEG

By Charles David Henry The song “Lean on Me” set the tone for the 2016 graduating class of San Quentin’s Victim Offender Education Group program. Executive Director Billie Mizell and Michael Adams harmonized the 1980s classic oldie by Bill Withers before nearly 125 people in the Protestant Chapel. Mizell said she wanted the audience to […]

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Lions Club Honors Folsom’s Knitting and Crocheting Program

By Staff Report Hooks and Needles, a charitable crocheting and knitting program at Folsom State Prison (FSP), has been honored as the Small Club Project of the Year for all Lions Club projects in California. The program, which began in 2011, is an inmate leisure time activity group, with the purpose to develop, design and […]

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Groundskeepers Find Their Work Therapeutic

By Wesley R. Eisiminger San Quentin State Prison has very beautiful gardens, the inmate caretakers say. “I enjoy working on the garden,” said Frank Smith, who is the lead man of four groundskeepers for a garden near the prison’s entrance. Smith said he’s been doing this job for five years to make it a place […]

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Hope for Lifers Facilitates Life-Changing Opportunities

By Juan Haines Gary Kosta and Marty Walters are the most unlikely characters to facilitate life-changing opportunities for inmates serving life sentences. Kosta, 59, has been in and out of prison his whole adult life. His last conviction for a 1996 robbery got him 50 years to life under California’s Three Strikes law. Walters, 58, […]

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