Inside CDCR Video, Rehabilitation

Seeking Safety graduation at VSP

Men in caps and gowns at a graduation.
Seeking safety graduation.

Incarcerated men at Valley State Prison (VSP) completed 55 sessions of Seeking Safety, addressing trauma and positive choices.

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, learning techniques to make positive choices. Peer mentors work alongside licensed clinicians from the Amity Foundation. The mentors shared their own experiences with the participants.

“My mentor has helped me a lot,” said graduate Lamarr House. “He has told me nothing but good things, offering good advice. 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,” said Division of Adult Institutions Director Connie Gipson.

Choosing to participate in rehabilitative programs like Seeking Safety helps incarcerated people change 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.”

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