A new 12-step organization aimed at helping prisoners shed their criminal gang activities and mentalities and become productive members of society held its first San Quentin graduation Dec. 7.
The program is sanctioned by the Acrh Diocese of Los Angeles.
Meredith Sanchez, one of the founding mothers of CGA attended the ceremony.
About 25 graduates of Criminals and Gang members Anonymous celebrated transitioning from “homies,” with no individual “me,” to realizing their inner, personal identities — identities based on personal experience, not cloned experience or outside intimidation.
“We learn from our experience that there is no right way to do wrong. Our aim in the CGA program is to turn men with little boy minds into grown men with grown men minds,” said Tony, an inmate-facilitator for CGA.
“We learn from our experiences that
there is no right way to do wrong.”
Tony said, “The street sign is still there,” referring to that past misidentification. He added, “Only you can be real with you. This is real transformation without harmful identification.”
“We are actually seeing men’s minds change in that they are no longer handicapped with the gang mentality,” Tony said. “This helps them become better fathers, sons, uncles.”
This transformation can then continue from one generation to another. “Life presents the individual with a constant tug of war over the elements of personal identity,” he added.
The next session of CGA will began in January 2013.
Contact T. Bolema in Education.