Rehabilitation, Sports

Sacramento Kings, Folsom Prison score one for rehabilitation

Sacramento Kings players walk through a prison cell block in Folsom.
The Sacramento Kings took a tour of Folsom Prison before playing basketball with inmates as part of Play for Justice. Photo courtesy NBA.

Represent Justice Campaign to facilitate discussions, basketball games in prisons

By Lt. Ernie Valencia
Photos by Sacramento Kings/NBA

On Dec.12, 2019, the Sacramento Kings in partnership with One Community, working with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) as a part of the Represent Justice Campaign, facilitated a round-table conversation with incarcerated men at Folsom State Prison and players and coaches from the Sacramento Kings. 

Sacramento Kings talk to prison warden and secretary in Folsom.
Folsom Prison Warden Rick Hill, center, and Secretary Ralph Diaz, right, greet the Sacramento Kings on Dec. 12.

During the conversation, the incarcerated men discussed goals of uplifting narratives of hope and redemption to break down stigmas associated with incarcerated individuals. Following the conversation, the Sacramento Kings served as players and coaches during an hour-long basketball game with incarcerated men.

The Sacramento Kings event provided an atmosphere that felt like attending a regular season NBA basketball game. The basketball court was outfitted with a tent that covered the entire court, equipped with lighting, bleachers and a scoreboard. A disc jockey played music throughout the game.

Inmates sit in a circle of chairs along with Sacramento Kings players.
Sacramento Kings players and management hold a round-table discussion with incarcerated individuals at Folsom State Prison. Photo courtesy NBA.

The 500 incarcerated men were able to enjoy popcorn, cotton candy, and water while they watched the game and the halftime entertainment provided by the tap dance group, The Syncopated Ladies.

This event was the first of many that the Represent Justice Campaign will facilitate a series of discussions and basketball games at correctional facilities.

“We’re proud to be the first participant in the Play for Justice initiative, which is shining a bright light on the unique issues facing incarcerated people in communities around the country,” said Vivek Ranadivé, Chairman, CEO and Governor of the Sacramento Kings. “Sports franchises have a unique opportunity to bring about positive change, which is why in the past year, the Kings and the Bucks brought together leaders from across two cities to share best practices and find new solutions to social injustices. This collaboration with Represent Justice is another example of how we can use our platforms for good.”

Tents with words Represent Justice are set up in the shadow of a large prison building.
A special tented area was set up for the game at Folsom Prison.

Former life-term inmate Adnan Khan hopes to use his story to propel reform.

“I’ve joined the Represent Justice Campaign because after being sentenced to life in prison and now free, I want people to see that I am the reflection, not the exception, of humanity that’s hidden inside our prison walls. In starting and leading a successful justice reform organization, I want to share my story so that redemption and second chances are driving values in the effort to reform our legal system,” said Khan, a Represent Justice Campaign surrogate, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Re:Store Justice, who will be participating in the Sacramento Kings activation. “With the support of the players involved in Play for Justice, we are taking our message of humanizing system-impacted people far and wide.”

Read more about the Folsom Prison event (may not be available on a CDCR computer.)