California Model, Rehabilitation

Sports, music, creativity meld at CSP‑Corcoran

Basketball players and incarcerated people at California State Prison, Corcoran.
Between the Lines at CSP-Corcoran helps teach life lessons through basketball, music and creativity.

Coach Heidi Wippel was excited to finally bring the popular music, creativity and sports event Between the Lines back to CSP-Corcoran.

The CSP-Corcoran incarcerated population were able to experience a cultural event melding sports and recreation with music and creativity. This year’s events included special guest DJ Meel (Lebron James’ personal DJ), who added another dimension to the culture of the gym during the game.

Smiles and dance moves were everywhere as the Facility Basketball Teams competed against the Between the Lines team led by former college and professional athletes. This year’s Between the Lines team included athlete-turned-actor Elvin Rodriguez, who had a role in the movie Hustle starring Queen Latifah and Adam Sandler. YouTube content creator Nick Briz joined the guest team, bringing hype and trash-talking chatter to the game.

This year’s event coincided with Suicide Prevention Month to bring a sense of hope to those struggling. Sponsors included Venice Ball, who donated jerseys and outdoor basketballs. Actively Black, a clothing line, funded travel costs for the guest team.

Sports teach more than athletics at Corcoran

Between the Lines brings basketball to the courts of rehabilitation centers throughout the country. Organizers believe basketball, even more so than any other sport, can be used to teach life lessons.

The group said these lessons stick with players, traveling beyond the confines of the playing court into everyday life.

Some of these lessons include:

  • belief in oneself,
  • value of discipline and hard work,
  • responsibility and accountability,
  • how to be a team player,
  • overcoming obstacles and adversity,
  • dealing with wins and losses,
  • persistence,
  • time management,
  • making sacrifices,
  • and instilling respect for others.

“Regardless of mistakes a person made that led to incarceration, they are people and should not be forgotten. Even from behind bars, each and every incarcerated person has a specific purpose. Many serve as parents, siblings, cousins, friends and mentors,” said Wippel.

A little known fact is 90% of those currently incarcerated will be released at some point to return to society. Because of this, it serves the community best to have programs like Between the Lines to assist in breaking the pattern of recidivism.

Having positive and stimulating programs aiming to prevent recidivism can aid in boosting spirits, inspire growth and assist in rehabilitation. Subsequently, this permeates the relationships with their loved ones and has a positive impact on society as a whole, Wippel said.

Submitted by CSP-Corcoran staff

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