Community Involvement

Kern Valley State Prison makes a difference for those battling cancer

Inmates, staff and volunteers at Kern Valley State Prison hold two oversize checks.
The incarcerated men on Facility A and C at Kern Valley State Prison raised money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. They presented checks Feb. 5.

By Lt. John Melvin

On Feb. 5, checks were presented by Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) to the Susan G. Komen Foundation. The funds had been raised in October 2019 by the incarcerated men. The checks totaled $6,551.58. Dr. Jenna Kieckhaefer accepted the donations on behalf of the foundation.

Dr. Kieckhaefer is an Assistant Professor at California State University, Fresno, Department of Criminology. She’s also a cancer survivor.

“These donations will go directly to our local communities to bring support to those who need it most,” Kieckhaefer told attendees as she thanked them for their participation and extraordinary generosity.

KVSP’s Facility A, in collaboration with the Compassion Prison Project, raised $2,133.34. One of the men donated $300 because this cause meant so much to him.

“We are so thankful that we can find ways to give back to the community,” said team organizer, David Do. “It means so much to us that we can bring healing and hope to society.”

Fellow team organizer Derrek Carter said, “The Giving Back Project is a way for us to begin to heal the harms from the past. We are excited to do all we can for the Delano community and especially to give back to the communities we took so much from.”

“This is only the beginning, the men I am working with are driven and committed to creating positive change in their communities and this is just one example of how the men behind bars can bring hope and restoration to our society,” said Fritzi Horstman, founder of the Compassion Prison Project.

KVSP’s Facility C, in collaboration with Facility C program The Ground, raised $2,318.24.

Emily Procter, Executive Director of The Ground, who agreed to donate with the guys to this program, added an additional $2,100, totaling $4,418.24.

“In the past year I have become increasingly aware of how positively, or negatively, we engage with one another affects our ability to succeed. Any opportunity we, as a community or a country, have to see the good in each other, we must take it. I am proud of The Ground and our community building program on Facility C,” Procter said. “The commitment to each other and to supporting the community they live in is both impressive and substantial. I am grateful to each person from this pilot program for their determined engagement.”

Two prison inmates and a woman hold an over-sized check.
The Ground, a Facility C program at Kern Valley State Prison, raised money for a cancer charity.

Read more about CDCR’s community involvement.