Criminal Justice

WestCare California In-Custody Staff Gather to Learn New Skills

Posted on Updated on

 

In late July,  staff from our various WestCare California in-custody programs gathered at our Bakersfield Residential treatment facility for a three day training on the University of Cincinnati Corrections Institute’s (UCCI) curriculum for Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for those dealing with substance abuse. The training was facilitated by Kimberly Golden-Andersen, Program Director of our SUDT Single-Level program at Corcoran State Prison (CSP) and Patrick Settles, Program Director of our SUDT Multi-Level program at California Correctional Institution (CCI). In attendance were 14 staff from our programs at CSP, CCI and Wasco State Prison (WSP).

The training was a rousing success as our staff from the various institutions that we serve came together and worked as a cohesive unit. At the end of the training, they had nothing but positive things to say and all agreed that they couldn’t wait to take the things that they had learned back to their programs and get busy.

Our staff at our Bakersfield Residential facility were warm and inviting, which made the training that much more enjoyable for those in attendance. We would like to extend a huge thank you to Susan Harrison, Program Director, Bakersfield Residential, her wonderful staff for all their hospitality and our facilitators for sharing their knowledge! Great work, everybody!

WCCA Logo PNGFor over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

“I Am Thankful For The Many Blessings” by Christopher T.

Posted on Updated on

Christopher T. Quote

It is our pleasure to share a success story on behalf of our WestCare California STOP Area 1 program that assists parolees by linking them to appropriate services including substance abuse treatment and employment assistance.

“Prior to being incarcerated, I was employed with Goodwill for two years. I was released June 2016 from the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC). I was paroled to Sacramento County under Parole Agent, Antonio Torres. Once released, I was able to stay with my mother and siblings until a referral for housing became available. As of July 2016, I received a referral for housing. I am now a current participant of the WestCare California STOP Area 1 program. I am so thankful that my waiting period was very short. I was giving this opportunity to have shelter, food and an opportunity to obtain employment. I was admitted to the Walters House   treatment center in Woodland, CA located in Yolo County. I was very grateful to get the assistance that was needed in order for me to move forward. In September 2016, I was admitted to the Humanity House Sober Living Environment. Mrs. Cynthia is firm but nevertheless, has your best interest in mind. I attended the Sacramento Community Based Coalition (SCBC) re-entry program, which provides employment and educational services to parolee clients.

I’m in the process of test preparation for the GED and in the meantime, I am working for the Caltrans Parolee Work Crew Program. I am very thankful to their staff for giving me the opportunity to shine. Besides getting myself together and staying focused, I managed to get temporary custody of my daughter. I love my mom for being so supportive through all my encounters and being the wonderful Grandmother that she is. I am thankful for the many blessings.” – Christopher T.

wc-branding_CA

For over 40 years, WestCare California has been providing an opportunity for individuals to lead fuller, richer lives. Our team of multi-cultural, experienced and credentialed staff is dedicated to providing the best care to everyone who enters our doors. Our goal is to uplift the human spirit by providing the skills and support necessary for individuals to achieve their dreams and transform their lives.

WestCare provides a wide spectrum of health and human services in both residential and outpatient environments. Our service domains include mental health & wellness, substance abuse and addiction treatment, housing opportunities, education & prevention, criminal justice and veterans programs. These services are available to adults, children, adolescents, and families.

“Change” by Clarence R.

Posted on

Clarence R. 2

It is our honor to share a powerful piece shared by one of our in-prison programs and written by Clarence, who is currently serving 3 life sentences +85 years without the possibility of parole.

“What am I doing? How have I ruined my life? My rights from wrongs were twisted. I missed it and didn’t know it. Low self-esteem took myself from dreams that I wanted. A fixture of pain that stained the glass I drank from. But, I think some didn’t know it because it was hard for me to show it for so long.

So, so long to deceit because I’ve planted my feet on the ground, bound by my decision to do better, to leave ‘never’ from my thoughts and to never be caught off-guard again. This selfish recovery has been rubbing me the right way. The right day is now. The right way is how I process my feelings to ensure that the healing begins.

No more sorrows of self-pity to associate; that social gate is closed. I socialize with those who grow, those who know right from wrong. They inspire me, because they desire me to absorb my change, to absorb those things that are new to me.

It’s new to see the potential I possess. I confess that I’m scared, that I stare at my future and freeze, standing on wobbly knees and uncertain, hoping my curtain hasn’t closed, so I chose.

Disheartened no more, I’m starting to soar to new heights. Through nights of reflection, I’ve found my reflections were me, were we who give up and don’t live up to our true potential.

My best care was WestCare, who gave me a hand, gave me a chance to find purpose, to be worth this existence. To conquer and thrive, to continue to strive and be better. It’s in us; they just lend us the tools. So, don’t be fools. Change.” – Clarence R.

“Moving Forward” by Stephan S.

Posted on

stephan-s-difference“I remember as a child growing up in San Francisco’s downtown Fillmore area. During the 60’s and 70’s, it had become an African American historical business district which brought about jobs, home ownership, youth programs and social togetherness. I hung out in the Turk Street Project area. I grew up with violence and I learned to fight back. I was 18 when I was first arrested.

When you’re locked up, you meet more people who are doing crazy stuff and you learn that stuff. When I got older, I did crazier stuff and ended up doing time. I served 22 years incarcerated. I was in Folsom, San Quentin, Solano, Susanville, Deuel Vocational Institute, Corcoran and California Men’s Colony (CMC). During my stay at CMC, I got the news that my mom died and I wanted out. I knew I had broken my mom’s heart as did other siblings before me.

Released in December 2014 with $200 gate money, I was paroled  to Sacramento County under Parole Agent, Gerard Morita. I had to check in Monday – Friday by noon, which was very difficult due to back and leg issues. Although I was homeless, I always took pride in my appearance. While homeless, I was working odd jobs through people in the community so I could receive earnings to pay for shelter. This went on for months.

Agent Morita referred me to California Consortium Services. There, I had access to showers and meals, which I utilized  Monday – Saturday. Eventually, I acquired a small pickup truck which enabled me to do service jobs for prospective clients. In the interim, I was assigned to another Parole Agent, Kenneth Dixon. Parole Agent Dixon managed to get me a referral through WestCare California, which provided housing, meals and outpatient services. Dixon is the fairest PA that I’ve ever encountered!

On December 2015, I was admitted to Humanity House, a Sober Living Environment. While there, I attended outpatient services and classes at Another Choice Another Chance on Franklin Blvd. under Mr. Thesolonius Story, AKA ‘Bo’, and his fellow staff. Thank you, Another Choice Another Chance for scheduling and re-scheduling with me and for having compassion. I obtained my Social Security, opened up a bank account and graduated from the WestCare program. To every employee at WestCare California, I thank you all for putting up with me until the end.

I thank God for his mercy and to those assisted in the process of my change. I am staying focused and will continue to make a difference.” – Stephan S.

“Learning to Trust the Process” by Troy W.

Posted on

capture“It was brought to my attention that I should pause to say ‘Thank you’ to the people who have assisted me in my process of change. Realizing the error of my ways and working on the thoughts and behaviors that led me to incarceration has been one of the most difficult things I have had to deal with in my life. I thank God that every day, keeping the change becomes easier because of the people I have been fortunate to surround myself with. I am convinced that some people have been strategically placed in my life that have taught me that connections matter. I am thankful that I have connected with people like you who have essentially been a cheerleading squad telling me that I can make it.

I am moved to tears when I consider how well things are going in my life right now and it’s all because of people like Ms. Cynthia and Mr. Forte, the House Manager at Humanity House, the wonderful staff at the Sacramento Community-Based Coalition, Ms. Natalya Edwards,  who keeps reminding me that success doesn’t come overnight and that it takes practice and healthy living. I’d also like to thank Dr. K.D. Weldon, Sr. Although he is younger than I am, I have adopted him as my mentor. Dr. Weldon taught me that everything has a purpose and my past is part of my metamorphosis to the bright future that is ahead.

Lastly, my parole agent, Kris Hardy, who from our first meeting, instilled in me that a man is defined not by how much he does in life, but what he starts and finishes.

My future looks bright and I have the people listed above to thank for it. I am making a commitment to continue what I have started, but furthermore to help anyone with a criminal past to know that they too can succeed.”

Sincerely,
Troy W.
WestCare California’s STOP Area 1 Program

“Follow the Straight Path” by Ahmad H.

Posted on Updated on

giving-back-4“I was born to a pair of street hustlers and raised in the small city of Richmond, California. I was only 2 years old losing both parents to the streets and the prison system.

Without their leadership and guidance, I too gravitated to the streets of Richmond. I abandoned my dreams of being an athlete and entertainer for the more tangible idea of being a gangster and running my city. Unfortunately, a lot of other young black males had the same idea and I earned myself a life sentence in prison for the attempted murder of a rival gang member.

While incarcerated, I initially went through a state of deep denial. Blaming was the main culprit in my stunted growth. I began to attend Islamic services every Friday. Islam compelled me to look at myself in a way that I never had before. I began attending self-help programs and reading books. The most memorable were the autobiography of Malcolm X, ‘Know Thyself’ by Na’im Akbar and ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.’ These books, self-help groups and a new found faith in God gave me the strength and guidance to tear down  the angry and irresponsible young man I had become. I had to rebuild myself with the goal of being a man of principle and integrity.

I was released from prison on March 16, 2016. I paroled to WellSpace Health, a recovery home in Sacramento, CA. While there, I met countless people who supported me in re-entering society: Kim, Clo and the entire staff at WellSpace. My caseworker from WestCare’s STOP program had me placed in a sober living home under the care of Ms. Cynthia Mose. Ms. Mose, Bo Story and my Parole Agent, Eduardo Duran, gave me the necessary freedom to get my drivers license, social security card and find employment. Sadly, our system isn’t always supportive of a smooth transition back into society, so it is very important that you have your family and people like the above mentioned in your corner.

Today, I work with troubled youth and I am still pursuing my dream of a career in athletics and entertainment. In my opinion, to be truly happy in this life, one must pursue their dreams and give back to the community that you stole from.  I’m doing that and I am at peace and truly grateful  for this opportunity to  shine.

Praise God for He is the Greatest. Dream big and believe in yourself. Finally, seek help and be humble to accept assistance. I could not have done any of this without the support of my wife, family and all of the beautiful people that God placed in my life.” – Ahmad H.

 

The Ladies of CCTRP San Diego Give Back

Posted on

dsc08485“The women that we serve at the Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP) in San Diego made a concerted effort to give back to and have a positive impact on the community. Within the program, the CCTRP San Diego Crochet Club worked all year to create handmade blankets, scarves, mittens, purses, leg warmers, booties and stuffed animals to donate to our neighbors at the San Diego Center for Children for the holidays. Below in the words of our ladies, are letters the crochet club wrote to the children to whom the items were gifted as well as a glimpse into why they participated in this project:

‘Happy holidays from the ladies at CCTRP. We are very happy to be able to crochet for you children and keep you guys warm. We love to make you smile. Just know that you are never forgotten no matter where you are. We hope and pray that this brightens your Christmas as it does for us and believe that this is from the heart. Even though we never cross paths, we truly love you guys as our brothers and sisters. Never forget that you are not alone.’ – CCTRP San Diego Crochet Club

‘Dear Little Brothers and Little Sisters, I hope that you enjoy all of the items that the ladies and I have made for you guys. I know times are tough and sometimes very lonely. I know how you feel. I may have never met you, but I do feel I understand you because I have been where you’ve been. I was really happy being Santa’s little elf, crocheting away. I really hope that you enjoy them and that you really feel that I am with you. Never give up, especially on yourself. You are truly loved…’ – Darlene N.

‘I really enjoy crocheting for the children because it is something I can do and make them happy.  Especially around the holidays, crocheting has made me feel more connected to my children. I also have a sense of accomplishment. I really love that we have this activity here at CCTRP.’ – Nicole J.

‘Why do I crochet? Well, it is a new hobby and I quickly learned thanks to some of my sisters at CCTRP. I haven’t perfected my crochet skills but I hope to do that soon….’ – Stephanie P.

‘Best wishes to you all. Believe that you are loved no matter where you are or wherever you end up….I hope you enjoy your gift and the holidays. Be happy because you are loved…’ – April J.

‘Hey, amazing boys and girls! I would love to inform you that every single item crocheted is done with nothing but love. You all stay in my prayers. We may never get to meet one another, but I truly hope that you all enjoy the holidays and all the things that we made. Keep in mind that it can’t rain forever. The best is yet to come…’ – Janet

‘The reason that I crochet for the children is because I want to give back to the community and
share love and kindness with others. If I can make the children happy over the holidays, it makes me happier and gives me a sense of purpose. The children deserve all the best in the world over the holidays and I hope to bring joy to their day when they receive our gifts.’ – Hannah B.

‘I get much joy from crocheting for children. I am unable to see my own children right now and knowing that a pretty little purse or some warm mittens or scarf can be made by my hands and tender heart makes this Christmas not quite so lonely. I sometimes think about the bright little smile that would come across a child’s face knowing that someone truly cares, because I honestly do….’ – Penny

‘Why do I crochet for the kids? I love to be able to bless kids with this stuff and bring joy and happiness to their hearts.’ – Darlene

‘The reason that I crochet for the children is because it makes me feel good knowing that there are children out there who are looking forward to receiving what I have made for them and knowing that I am able to give back.’ – Crystal R.

‘I enjoy doing this because it will lift someone’s spirits and brighten their day. When you give your time and effort selflessly, you gain more than you would doing it for any other reason. Having concern for others, especially others you don’t know, is true giving of yourself.’ – Anonymous

‘The reason I chose to crochet for the children at the Center is because it makes me feel better knowing that I can still give to those in need even though I am considered incarcerated. I am glad that I can make another mother’s child have a little brighter holiday because I know that I wasn’t there for my children. It just feels right.’ –Amanda S.

‘The reason I loved to crochet all of the things I did was because it gave me a sense of accomplishment and gave me self-worth and made me happy knowing that I was doing something for the community. I always love seeing my community and giving back and just knowing that if the kids are at a strange place, making a purse or a beanie, scarf or small blanket that they use in the cold weather makes me happy. Just imagining the joy on their faces when they receive the presents is an indescribable feeling of gratitude. Hopefully, it will make a difference in their lives and bring them happiness knowing that people truly care about them and that they are important.’ – Jorene N.

‘While at Folsom Women’s facility, I was an active member of the ‘hooks and needles,’ which provided crocheted items for underprivileged children. I was pleased to learn I would be able to continue sharing my gift with the children at the Children’s Center next door. I love to use my God given gifts to help others and give back to the community. Knowing that I am bringing a smile to a child’s face warms my heart.’ – Nicole L.

Our ladies made a difference and we are so proud of them!” – Michelle White, Program Director, CCTRP San Diego