The Alliance for CHANGE is a unique and individualized program, utilizing continuity of care and other best practices to enhance public safety and social justice. We partner with currently and formerly incarcerated people and provide compassionate assistance when they and their peers return to the community upon their release from prison.
Alliance Reintegration Program
When formerly incarcerated people to complete parole, all of us fail. We believe that formerly incarcerated people need them to succeed in being fully integrated into their communities in order for all of us to have safe and healthy communities. To give them the right start for success, we offer rides from the gate of the prison to their parole office and transitional housing, provide them with a welcome home kit of essentials such as toiletries and clothes, and connect them with critical community resources. The first moments on parole are crucial to their success and to their chances of avoiding situations that might land them back in prison.
To locally paroled clients, the Alliance offers a multitude of other services. We hold weekly classes, as well as one on one trainings, to assist clients in learning how to safely and effectively use smart phone, web-based, and computer technology. We help with critical job development skills such as creating resumes and cover letters, and also serve as a liaison to the Adult Parole Department and various transitional communities. We offer Critical Adventures, where we connect volunteers with formerly incarcerated men and women to achieve practical tasks together, all in a fun and supportive environment. Participants learn to use public transportation, take their driver’s license tests, shop, get government assistance, and manage a bank account, among other tasks. They learn these success-building skills alongside caring community members who check in with them continuously and offer whatever assistance is needed.
We have also developed a large network of peer mentors, all of whom are formerly incarcerated and were trained members of the Alliance since their incarceration. Clients can depend on a listening ear and words of wisdom from peers—many of whom they’ve known for years and even decades while incarcerated– who have traveled a similar path to them, and have become models of success.
Social Justice Education Program
The people we work with have endured years, and sometimes decades, of institutionalization within the criminal justice system. We designed a unique course that teaches them about what some of the factors are that helped land them in prison in the first place, ways in which they can become civically engaged, and how to have a stake in their society.
The Social Justice Education Program, which was taught for many years in San Quentin State Prison as an intensive 18 week curriculum, has been re-visioned in a shorter format appropriate for county jail, juvenile detention, and transitional community offerings. The course is an experience that challenges participants to see their lives and their place in the social structure through a new lens meant to empower them, imbue them with a sense of social justice, and provide them with framework for making different choices. The interactive course, as well as a diverse body of volunteers, help participants to break away from institutional thinking and think about how they can become engaged community members. On completion, participants know the differences between retributive, restorative, procedural, and transitional justice, how these theories affect their lives, and how they can achieve positive changes working within the system.