Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Posts Tagged ‘chowchilla

Happy (Belated) Mother’s Day to All the Mothers in Prison, or with Children in Prison

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Nearly 70% of women in state prisons have young children, and over half have never had a visit from them. Those statistics come from the Sentencing Project, which has put together some stories of how women in prison spend Mother’s Day. The video above is from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which collaborated with the Center for Restorative Justice Works to bring over 700 children to visit their incarcerated mothers yesterday in the 11th annual Get on the Bus event. A similar event is also being planned for Father’s Day.

Written by sara

May 10, 2010 at 12:21 pm

Around the Country, Inmates Are Giving Back to Their Communities

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Apologies for the blogging hiatus of late; I hope to get back to regular posting soon. In the meantime, a reader recently sent along this article at that spotlights five prison charities around the country. The examples range from small, inmate-run volunteer organizations to comprehensive job training programs. Through these programs, inmates are quilting blankets for nearby hospitals, selling homemade crafts and donating the proceeds, preparing and serving food at a low-cost cafeteria for their local community, training puppies to serve as companion dogs for disabled military veterans, building homes for Habitat for Humanity, and more. Since I’m in California, I thought I’d highlight this organization at the Chowchilla women’s prison, but all the stories are well worth reading:

In the farmlands east of San Jose, behind the fences of the octagon-shaped Valley State Prison for Women (VSPW), members of one of the country’s most active and effective women’s prison groups have an interesting new idea: they’d like to sponsor a Girl Scout troop.

The plan, if they can do it, is to start a troop made up of daughters of inmates that, with the aid of outside coordinators, would be just like any other troop in America—except it would occasionally gather at the institution.

A working Girl Scout troop would be one more way members of VSPW’s Long Termer’s Organization have found to give back to the community. During the group’s nearly 20-year history, the ladies have donated around $150,000 to charitable organizations.

It seems to me that the programs highlighted in this article do two really great things: they give inmates an opportunity to learn skills they could apply to a future job on the outside, while also giving them the valuable experience — an experience we all need to feel fulfilled — of taking control of a project and seeing it through. Along the same lines, a few months ago I blogged about the Sustainable Prisons Project, a partnership between Evergreen State College and the Washington Department of Corrections that involves inmates in beekeeping, spotted frog research, worm culture, organic gardening, and bicycle repair.

Unfortunately, prison education and rehabilitation programs around the country have been subject to crippling budget cuts in recent months, and in general, most inmates have precious few opportunities to do anything meaningful with their time while behind bars. Although true prison reform will require comprehensive statewide solutions, in the meantime, it would be great if more local nonprofits, job training programs, university labs, etc. would think creatively about ways to build bridges with nearby prisons and offer inmates an opportunity to get involved with their work. Perhaps these examples will spark some ideas!

Written by sara

April 21, 2010 at 8:37 am

Drug Rehab for Women in California Prisons: More Programs, But the Programs Are Getting Shorter

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From the CDCR press release, here’s a video on a new drug rehab program designed for women, launched this week and expected to include 175 inmates at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla:

The Trauma-Informed Substance Abuse Program (TI-SAT) is part of a CDCR initiative, begun in 2005, to develop programs tailored to the needs of juvenile and adult women in prison and on parole. Participants are encouraged to continue treatment after their release, and CDCR claims that participants who complete both in-prison and community-based treatment have a 16.5% recidivism rate (as compared to 43.7% for all female offenders in CDCR).

However, because of budget cuts, the program introduced this week at Chowchilla is actually a much truncated version of the pilot TI-SAT program launched in 2008 at the Leo Chesney Community Correctional Facility. Says CDCR:

Due to budget reductions in adult rehabilitation programs, CDCR is using a 90-day treatment program rather than the six-month program at Leo Chesney. A new 90-day treatment model for male inmates is also being phased in at nine additional prisons to replace CDCR’s previous substance abuse programs that ranged from six to 36 months in length. The shorter treatment model will enable CDCR to still serve 8,450 inmates with substance abuse treatment annually. The department’s new model was developed in consultation with the UC San Diego, Center for Criminality & Addiction Research, Training & Application.

Written by sara

January 28, 2010 at 1:42 pm

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