A group of incarcerated men were celebrated at Valley State Prison (VSP) recently, where they completed 55 sessions of an evidence-based program, Seeking Safety, designed to address trauma, combat substance use disorder, and focus on making positive decisions.
The course does not seek to downplay the consequences of past decisions. Rather, over the course of more than 100 hours, participants take a deep dive into underlying trauma, and learn techniques to make positive choices. Working alongside licensed clinicians from the Amity Foundation were peer mentors, who shared their own experiences with the participants.
“My mentor, he has helped me a lot,” said graduate Lamarr House. “He has told me nothing but good things, and good advice, and he just helped me get my head on straight.”
Seeking Safety is just one part of the Youth Offender Program (YOP), which aims to provide a prison atmosphere focused on rehabilitation and motivating people who were sentenced to state prison as young adults. Peer mentors work alongside custody and clinical staff to address the unique needs of this population through programming, education, and positive community activities.
“Your current situation doesn’t define your destination,” shared Division of Adult Institutions Director Connie Gipson, who traveled to VSP to congratulate the graduates.
She pointed out that choosing to participate in rehabilitative programs like Seeking Safety helps incarcerated people change the trajectory of how they do their time.
Her sentiments were echoed by VSP Warden R. Fisher, who said the men graduating are paving the way for others committed to positive change.
“This is not only for you, but for those who will follow your example,” Warden R. Fisher told the graduates. “You have become lights.”