The Awareness Into Domestic Abuse (AIDA) process group aims to transform the belief system of men who view women as inferior.
“The core issues we seek to address and change are men’s need to have power and control within intimate partner relationships,” said group founder Floyd D. Collins.
“There are many domestic abuse programs here in California, but AIDA’s core focus is helping those incarcerated to learn from their distorted belief system and teach them how to have healthy effective relationships,” said Vanessa Collins, co-founder and deputy director of the AIDA non-profit organization.
One in three women and one in four men have experienced some form of physical violence by an intimate partner, reported AIDA
“Our call to action is to bring awareness to the major forms of abuse, and all the people affected by it,” said Vanessa Collins.
Many programs advocate that in order to stop the cycle of violence, a change in thinking must occur.
“When a person commits to change, the results of one’s commitment will be changed,” said Floyd.
Prior to the paralyzing effect that COVID-19 had by shutting down programs in the prison system, the AIDA group sought time and space to hold its weekly process groups here at San Quentin.
“At present, we are still looking for the space to hold process group meetings and are exploring the options of being a sub-group of Kid-Kat. Or we will continue to hold small process groups on the yard,” said Floyd, who transferred to SQ in 2019. “That is my commitment to the SQ community,” Floyd added.
Of the five founding group members, two remain incarcerated; Floyd D. Collins and Deveron Ratliff.
Paroled were Jarret Keith (2015), James Willock (2020), and Vinh Nguyen (2021).
“I am proud of the seed that we planted at CTF-Soledad and with Deveron continuing the mission of AIDA there along with the new team that includes Vince Rivera, Ray Feliz, and Raul Garcia,” said Floyd.
The organization distributes a quarterly newsletter called The AIDA Chronicles.
“Our newsletter gives members and contributing writers a platform in which to share their stories of intimate partner violence and change,” said Vanessa Collins.
“Our hope is to become a 52-week batterer intervention program with our own curriculum and become a recognized program within all CDCR institutions,” she continued. “Long-term, we would love to start a transitional house to help those re-entering society.”
AIDA plans to provide process groups, workshops, and mentoring programs for men, women, youth, and teens, and currently provides a correspondence course called AIDA by mail.
AIDA’s process groups would be held inside county jails, juvenile detention centers, and the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, according to Vanessa Collins.
AIDA coordinates with nearly a dozen or so incarcerated organizers who collectively recruit members to submit stories and raise funds (collect stamps to help with postage), as they are non-funded.
San Quentin’s group is known as AIDA Group SQ and its members are Floyd D. Collins (the founder), Harry Goodall Jr., Michael Beaudette, Steven Warren, Jesus Escobar, and Jerry Gearing.
“A lot of abusers are unaware that domestic violence is more than just physical. My living amends is to bring awareness and enlightenment to those who still possess blinds spots in their thinking that lead to perpetuating an ongoing cycle of violence within intimate relationships,” Floyd concluded.