The mission of the California Reentry Program is to assist California prisoners in successfully reentering society. This includes developing parole plans; providing prisoners assistance with developing social skills and obtaining services in their local communities; promoting public support for such programs; and providing a model for reentry programs that can be replicated in California and elsewhere.
The California Reentry Program was started in 2003 with a single client who was interested in continuing his college education after paroling from San Quentin. Allyson West was teaching algebra at San Quentin when this student approached her about college admission and financial aid. This student told people he knew about the help he was getting, and those men also came to ask for help with college, financial aid, housing, substance abuse treatment and many other needs.
Over the ensuing weeks and months it became clear that there was no systematic delivery of information about services and opportunities in local communities to prisoners prior to their release. The program expanded to the Level I facility outside San Quentin’s walls in late 2003 and then to all the prison’s mainline residents in 2004.
Today the program has approximately 25 volunteers and serves approximately 150 to 200 clients per month.