California Men’s Colony (CMC) created and hosted its inaugural “A Day for Atonement” ceremony. Jonathan Duke, hundreds of incarcerated individuals, and staff members collaborated for this introduction to National Crime Victims’ Rights Week.
Duke acknowledged his conviction for second-degree murder and other incarcerated individuals expressed regret for the crimes they committed. All acknowledged the harm they caused others throughout their lives.
Incarcerated in attendance wore yellow nametags pinned to their shirts. The nametags had the name of their victim or the crime for they committed written on them. The symbolic act outwardly expressed the ownership each takes for their past.
Victim Awareness program facilitator Amalia Molina encouraged the incarcerated to accept responsibility for the harm they inflicted on others. The message was compassionately but unapologetically expounded upon throughout her presentation.
“Each person makes their own choices and must accept full responsibility for their actions. Accepting responsibility for the past is the only way to begin a journey toward becoming a whole and rehabilitated person,” said Amalia Molina.
San Luis Obispo County District Attorney Dan Dow delivered the keynote address during the observance. He expressed his admiration for the incarcerated individuals who have made the choice to lead productive and peaceful lives.
Dow explained redemption could not begin without real atonement, but redemption is available for every person regardless of their past.
Story by Lt. John Hill, AA/PIO
California Men’s Colony