In our May 2023 issue, we surveyed
readers about Gov. Gavin
Newsom’s proposal to develop
a California Model of rehabilitation.
Here are just a couple of
the thoughtful responses we’ve
received so far.
CALIFORNIA MODEL NEEDS MORE THAN PAINT JOBS AND MICROWAVES
Dear SQ News:
It would look better than paint jobs, couches and microwaves.
It would go deep with healing circles that involve vulnerability disclosure and equality. It would involve creativity, love, and humanity. It would involve honesty and humility.
It needs healthy intent and healthy food, understanding and forgiveness. It would need accountability and trust.
It would need trauma-informed training and forward thinking.
It would need to have restorative justice principles. It needs more than words.
It would have safe shared space. It would facilitate dignity and respect.
The prison system would have to welcome the community and be transparent.
It would need a commitment for all parties to promote safety. There would have to be top down and bottom up changes.
Faith would fuel the day and fear would take a back seat.
—James Cross, California Medical Facility, Vacaville, California
DO AWAY WITH POINTS SYSTEM, ENHANCE VETTING OF PROGRAMMERS
If I could design a prison to meet my rehabilitative needs and get me home safely, I will refer to the article I enclosed titled “Norway builds the world’s most humane prison.” If CDCR is going to really model the Norway way, then why not have a prison like the one described in the enclosed article.
Furthermore, I would do away with the point system when it pertains to placing prisoners in a prison. At least do this with prisoners who really program. I have a minimum score of 19 points. However if I did not have a minimum score of 19 points, my points would be at zero or even below.
I also would make it a requirement that if a prisoner receives just one disciplinary report, he is transferred to another prison best suited for his behavior.
But, I really go back to the enclosed article when it pertains to designing a prison to best rehabilitate prisoners. I hope all this helps.
If possible I request and would greatly appreciate it if you would please respond to this at your earliest possible convenience to confirm you received this correspondence.
Thank you for your time and attention to this matter. It is appreciated.
—Timothy O’Keefe, Valley State Prison, Chowchilla, California