The idea behind the California Re-entry Institute (CRI) is to begin the re-integration process in prison and continue support services once released.
The 18-24-month-to-the- gate program recently graduated more than 50 men in San Quentin State Prison’s Garden Chapel on Sept. 7 from its two programs of Crime Impact Awareness and Empowered Re-entry.
“They are always stopping me and asking me questions; they’re anxious and invested. They’re dedicated to being the men who I know they are.”
Vincent Russo who was born the same year (1993) that his father went to prison, spoke of the potential of CRI at the graduation.
“From basically my birth until 18, he was in prison,” said Russo, an invited guest and former speaker at various CRI events. “He’s been out for six years, and we actually live together now.”
Russo explained the cost/impact of incarceration on the family. Russo’s message is that the shame of a criminal history need not limit the potential of a returning citizen.
“When we visited, I remember waiting until the end to try to take my dad home with me,” he added.
“You go to education and fill out the form for CRI,” he said. “The average wait is now about two years. We respect those that wish to join and strictly follow our wait list.
“I’ve been a facilitator for two years. CRI is about making and keeping commitments. If anybody wants to know more, you can find me at the ARC Trailer all day on Saturday.”
EMPOWERED RE-ENTRY PROGRAM (ERP)
CRI’s curriculum uses individualized case management and personalized parole planning to assist participants on issues such as emotional needs and addictions, as well as personal empowerment and financial literacy.
“What makes CRI’s Empowerment Reentry Program unique is not only does it help it’s participants understand emotional intelligence while bringing community resources to them, upon release offers a safe place at Roland’s House.” said CRI inmate-facilitator Eddie Herena.
CRIME IMPACT AWARENESS PROGRAMS (CIAP)
“The crime impact statement taught me about the pain and suffering that I caused my victims and society,” he added. “This gave me an opportunity to look at the worst choice I made in my life and take full responsibility for my crime.”
CRI looks to the past as well as the future in helping participants with personal transformation through its curriculum. CIAP helps offenders understand the impact of their crimes upon victims.
For Carroll, CRI is a legacy that reaches back to her husband, who volunteered at San Quentin for nearly 30 years before he passed away. She shared this moment with the new graduates of CRI.
“If it was not for my husband almost 16 years ago volunteering me to come in to start a self-help program here, the fire would not have been ignited, the spark would not have been lit, and I would not have had the experience to share with you men,” she said. “When I was in my darkest moment, when Roland passed away people said I was a light in your dark place. You were the light in my dark place.”
Graduates: Empowered Re-entry Program & Crime Impact Awareness Program: Stanley Baer, Louis Daniels, Eddie DeWeaver, Bruce Fowler, John Gillies, David Gonzalez, Frederick Guest, Joseph Hancock, David Irby, Eric Johnston, Dwayne Jones, Gary Kosta, Philip Senegal, Somsak Uppasay, Bobby Williams, Douglas Wynn, Jonny Gomez and Charles Spencer.
Empowered Re-entry Program: Anthony Faulk, Carlos Smith, Christopher James, Craig Wimberly and Reginald Wimberly.
Crime Impact Awareness Program: Andrew Gazzeny, Claudius Johnson Gary Harrell, Eddie Wills, Kevork Parsakrian, Lee Conley, Mark Tedeschi, Marty Spears, Orlando Harris, Richard Benjamin, Richard Lathan, Roger Chavez and Ronald Coleman.