CMF Peer Literacy Mentor Program makes a difference

A judge and prison warden speak with a Peer Literacy Mentor Program tutor.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Peterson and Acting Warden Daniel E. Cueva speak with a CMF PLMP tutor.

The Peer Literacy Mentor Program (PLMP) held its first open house April 13 at California Medical Facility (CMF).

(Editor’s note: Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-13.)

The CMF literacy mentor tutors showcased and discussed an array of program offerings.

Their displays included content from literacy circles, math groups, and Socratic seminars. Each literacy and math group had a display with mentors answering questions. Additionally, they explained the process to earn a General Educational Development (GED) certificate.

Attendees included Acting Warden Daniel E. Cueva, Acting Chief Deputy Warden J. Tuggle, and U.S. Magistrate Judge Peterson as well as attorneys, law clerks, correctional captains, teachers, staff and vice principals from the northern region.

PLMP provides services to incarcerated

According to the PLMP Operations Manual, the program provides literacy services for the incarcerated adult population who do not have a high school diploma or equivalency with support of Literacy Mentors. While developing proficiency in College and Career Readiness Standards, students work to improve their literacy skills and acquire academic knowledge to earn a GED or high school equivalent and to enter the workforce.

The program is designed for 20 trained mentors to tutor and support incarcerated students from beginning literacy levels through twelfth grade ultimately earning a GED. Mentors who already have a high school diploma, GED and/or college degree apply to the position and are interviewed and selected based on their abilities to support students in CDCR.

They progress through three modules within this program; the first two focus on lesson development, instructional strategies and criminal thinking. The third is a paid internship where they tutor students one-on-one and in small groups until they have accrued 720 hours. Then they become certified mentors and continue mentoring and tutoring in the program. This program trains incarcerated individuals to support and guide others through the rigorous educational process while incarcerated.

Teacher sees results

“As a teacher, I have seen a tremendous amount of growth and support amongst mentors in the PLMP at CMF. I have learned a lot about prison life from mentors in the program. That knowledge has allowed me to design and integrate meaningful literacy and math groups. (These) teach essential skills and enhance learning opportunities,” said PLMP Teacher Evangela Harrison.

“The PLMP has given the incarcerated population at CMF the opportunity to help others while learning essential job skills. It has also allowed incarcerated persons who are condemned, formerly on Death Row, the opportunity to integrate with the CMF population, find meaningful employment and help others,” Harrison added.

Story submitted by Lt. P. Gonzalez
Photos by Richard Tan, Television Specialist

Read more rehabilitation stories.

Follow CDCR on YouTubeFacebook and Twitter.