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The mission of the Alliance for CHANGE is to facilitate the healthy and safe reintegration of incarcerated men and women back into society. We recognize that this requires an active process of re-socialization, including pre-parole and post-parole community support. Our program incorporates core principles of social justice and community living as well as practical skills that ensure successful reintegration and lifestyle change that is beneficial to the participant as well as his or her larger community.
The Alliance for CHANGE works to create an equitable society by preparing incarcerated individuals for reintegration and assisting them in post-release success. The Alliance for CHANGE runs the only program in the state of California that teaches the theory and practical application of social justice models behind prison walls. With its current program in San Quentin State Prison, the Alliance operates an innovative full-immersion Social Justice course open to the general incarcerated population. For four months, four days a week, participants engage in experiential exercises, lectures, and class discussions on differing concepts of social justice. The course exposes participants to leading models of social justice, community and civic responsibility. It then encourages them to then critically examine the role of these models in their own past and present lives, and how they can work with their communities in a pro-social manner to exercise their voice in the system, change it for the better, and build a more just future. It also includes an Anger Management course once a week. Each participant is paired with a trained Peer Mentor to guild them through the curriculum and coping with any emotional issues it may give rise to. The Alliance Virtual Community allows graduates of the Social Justice course to engage in a simulated version of real world experiences such as paying bills, maintaining a budget and bank account, managing time, raising a family, and participating in other pro-social activities. This allows participants to develop realistic parole plans, and practice hands on skills crucial to survival in free society. Graduates are encouraged to participate in the Virtual Community throughout their stay in San Quentin. Finally, we offer post-release support by picking up paroled participants on the day of their release, assisting them with finding housing, providing them with essentials for the first month including clothing and a bus pass, and guiding them through the first phases of reentry.
- Kim Richman
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