One CMC Offender Mentor graduate paroled the same day
October represented a new beginning for the 29 incarcerated graduates of the Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) at California Men’s Colony (CMC). The graduation was the first of what CMC leadership hopes will be many more.
“(This is) a cutting-edge program that certifies incarcerated men and women to become alcohol and drug counselors,” said OMCP Director Michael Hibdon. “Approved by the state, (they are) able to work in or out of prison. (This is not) only improving the lives of inmates, their families and communities, but reducing violence as well as many other benefits.”
While celebrating academic and rehabilitative accomplishments of completing the program, redemption was the common theme throughout the day.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow reinforced the message: “There are no throw-away people.” The phrase was uttered earlier in the ceremony by graduate Jeremy Chiu.
Currently serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole, Chiu believes all people, including himself, are redeemable.
Proof of redemption was provided by Martin Marsh, who began the day as an incarcerated person and ended it as a graduate and parolee. He had been incarcerated for 42 consecutive years.
Each OMCP graduate is now a qualified drug and alcohol addiction counselor. They have successfully completed over 350 hours of master’s degree level curriculum and over 250 hours participating in counseling sessions with licensed drug and alcohol counselors.
Images of hope and redemption
Submitted by Lt. J. Hill