In 2016, after the end to hostility amongst the races on facility C-Yard, a 180 design maximum security prison (main line).
A core group of inmates have come together for a common cause to help at risk youths throughout Monterey County in Central California.
The Life Cycle Juvenile Diversion Program, (cycle) standing for “Careless Youth Corrected by Lifers Experiences.” at Salinas Valley Prison has positively changed the culture and mind sets of all involved in the program. With the support of Associate Warden, Compex-1, E.J. Borla, myself:
1. Stephen Reed – Chairman (Certified Life Coach)
2. Galoriel Banes – Vice Chairman (Certified Life Coach)
3. Ronnie Dewberry – Ambassador (Certified Life Coach)
4. James Williamson – MC (Certified Life Coach)
5. Dennie Ortiz – Former Chairman (Certified Life Coach)
Helped shape and develop the program into what it is today, by familiarizing themselves with subjects, identifying triggers and causative factors that led to their incarceration.
As life cycle coaches they have been able to work with a group of inmates who have dedicated themselves to changing the narrative, and show first hand that bad choices don’t have to define who you are as an individual or what you can become if you apply yourself to right the wrong.
These inmates are a testament that prison reform is possible and that their stories need to be heard and shared with society.
As a writer, what I like about this “Life Cycle Juvenile Diversion Program” and why I feel these inmates should be commended is because this group of inmates ranging in age from 25 to 60 have set all their differences and egos to the side and cohesively came together to thoroughly discuss and learn each topic surrounding (at risk youth) problems.
These topics are as follows:
1. Family values/Upbringing
2. Economics/Effects of Poverty
3. Peer Pressure/Choices/Impulsive Behavior
5. Negative Thinking/Triggers/Consequences
6. Attitude Towards Authority
7. Women in Our Lives
8. Manhood/Overcoming Adversity
9. Positive Thinking/Goal Setting
10. Parental Values/Self-Esteem
Once the group was able to relate to these issues and the circumstances surrounding their own lives, they began holding seminars that consisted of a tour of the prison yard and housing units, as well as listen to these inmates share their stories and how the topics played a part in their lives as a teenager and still as an adult today.
These inmates have become transparent in their efforts to make a difference in their own lives and that of at risk youth, believing that second chances are possible.
At the end of each tour, when the at risk youth share what they learned on the day, you can see the impact some of the stories have on them and how cell living is something they can’t comprehend.
Salinas Valley State Prison has become a resource for local community at risk youth, which we inmates embrace.
I would like to take time out to say “Thank You” to Barrios Unidos out of Santa Cruz and Danny Glover for shedding light on mass incarceration and for supporting the work we are doing in Salinas Valley with our Life Cycle Program.
I would also like to say thank you to our Life Cycle Sponsors:
1. H. Muhammad (Muslim Chaplin)
2. J. Barrett (Labor Relations Analyst)
3. A. Tamayo (CRM)
Without them, we wouldn’t be able to function as a unit and grow the program. Your service to the program is recognized and truly appreciated.
Till next time “Never Allow Yesterday To Affect Your Tomorrow.”
Stephen Reed T.50067
P.O. Box 1050
Soledad, CA 93960