Community Involvement

Pleasant Valley prison population donates to children’s hospital

The prison population donated money to St. Jude, shown in a large check held by an inmate and two prison staff members.
From left are Marlon Melendez, Sgt. Greg Clark and Facility A Capt. R. Barker.

By Lt. Alex Avila

When the incarcerated population on Pleasant Valley State Prison’s Facility A asked if they could donate to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, Correctional Sgt. Greg Clark was surprised. 

Marlon Melendez, housed on Facility A, proposed the idea to raise money to help fight childhood cancer.  

Seeing potential for the population to make a difference, Sgt. Clark agreed and spread the message throughout the population.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, each housing unit could only cohort with their own. In all, the prison population donated $1,068.77, raised through trust withdrawals. 

“By inmates donating to help a good cause, it demonstrates that the inmate population has good intentions and they have their mind on helping others,” said Sgt. Clark. 

Why St. Jude? Melendez said his mother has donated to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for years, inspiring him to do the same. Melendez said his prayers were answered when the inmate population supported the effort. 

Learn more about St. Jude.

Learn more about CDCR’s commitment to being community involved.