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California Institution for Women (CIW) - Chino Topics, Discussions and Information relating to the California Institute for Women, located in Chino, California.

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Old 12-05-2008, 06:33 PM
kima kima is offline

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Default Women's Re-entry Facility: Housing, Job Skills, etc.

I just came across this organization that helps women that are just getting out of prison by picking them up, giving them a place to live and providing job skills, DMV help, etc. Maybe someone on this site (or even their loved one in prison) may know of a person who needs a helping hand like this?

Residential Program

Crossroads’ residential program provides eight beds in a beautiful two-story home in residential Claremont, and three additional beds in a house four miles away in Pomona. The normal length of stay is six months. However, this time frame is dependent upon the individual and her needs. Our program is run in an organized and effective manner, and we provide a variety of different services.

Crossroads picks its residents up from prison upon their release. They are then given transportation to the Social Security Office, the DMV, and initial visits to the parole office, police station, and health clinic. This provides the women with identification and a social security card, making them eligible for employment. Residents are then provided with a monthly bus pass to fulfill transportation needs. Our program unfolds as follows:

* Initial assessment: Residents are given an initial assessment to determine individual education level, medical and mental health, and employment needs.
* Goal setting: Members of our staff meet one-on-one with each woman to set goals based on their individual assessment. Meetings are held weekly to make sure goals are realistic and attainable, and are being achieved.
* Counseling and education: Counseling/education is given in a group setting on several topics essential for transition into society. Such topics include substance abuse issues, relapse prevention, anger management, relationships & family life, self-esteem, food preparation, and money management
* Development of social and communicative skills: Residents are taught skills necessary for healthy relationships through evening meals together, house meetings, and social activities. This is essential in helping our women rekindle relationships with their families, and helps them establish healthy relationship in their post-Crossroads environment.
* Educational assistance: Tutoring is provided to women preparing for the GED or other academic coursework.
* Employment assistance: Residents are given instruction on job-readiness, and resume and cover-letter preparation. They are also assisted in their search for employment. To learn more, please click here for Turning Point Staffing Services.
* Personal finances: Residents participate in exercises about budget management, and are given direction in handling their savings. A requirement of our program is that women open a savings account and save 75% of their income while at Crossroads. Upon graduation, this provides them with both monetary security and the knowledge necessary to maintain financial wisdom in the future.
* Housing assistance: Women are assisted in finding affordable housing upon graduation. When available, they are provided with furnishings, kitchenware, and other household items, in order to aid them in establishing their own homes.

Turning Point Staffing Services

One of Crossroads’ primary services is reintroducing its women back into the labor force. Employment is an essential step in preventing recidivism, as it allows those who have been incarcerated an opportunity to remain financially stable and to resume a normal life. Women who have been released from prison sometimes struggle to find employment because of the stigma associated with having been incarcerated. They may also need training in skills necessary to rejoin the working world, such as the ability to manage time and money, knowledge of teamwork, and a sense of social and civic responsibility.

Crossroads hopes to combat recidivism associated with unemployment through a new employment program titled Turning Point Staffing Services (TPSS). TPSS is designed to help the women of Crossroads, and is open to any other women on parole or in recovery. It includes an eight week life-skills program in which its clients will prepare emotionally and socially to re-enter the work force. It will also assist its participants in the search for employment. TPSS plans to maintain a superior level of customer service by training its members with utmost quality and high expectations. It also expects to grow organically, so that it will eventually be fully operated by women who have been incarcerated and are in recovery.

TPSS is currently networking with potential employers to create new opportunities for our clients. TPSS also plans to encourage potential employers by highlighting the significant tax benefits that come with hiring a formerly incarcerated individual. Classes on life skills and job training have already begun at our Claremont residence. Please contact us if you are a potential employer, a woman on parole or in recovery who is interested, or you have any questions. You can reach Rendie Bridgeforth, the Job Developer/Administrative Associate for TPSS, at (909) 626-0700 or

Crossroads Advocacy Project

The Crossroads Advocacy Project is a program designed to fight for female inmates who are serving life sentences, and are both eligible and deserving of parole.

In 1988, a Constitutional amendment gave the governor of California the authority to overturn parole recommendations made by the Board of Prison Hearings. This has obliterated the possibility of parole for hundreds of people serving life sentences across the state. The Board of Prison Hearings, which is an organization that reviews parole possibilities for inmates serving life sentences, requires each parolee to exceed stringent standards for release. Legally, for an inmate to be found suitable, they must demonstrate exemplary behavior in the prison system, have realistic parole plans, and no longer be a threat to society. Despite the hundreds of inmates who meet these qualifications, less than 1 percent of the 4000 cases brought to the Board of Prison Hearings each year are approved for parole. The extension of gubernatorial power has further reduced the number of those found suitable—in 2006, Governor Schwarzenegger overturned 90 percent of the Board of Prison Hearings-approved releases.

Since January 2006, Crossroads, Inc. has been raising awareness about this situation through the Crossroads Advocacy Project. The Crossroads Advocacy Project is designed to alleviate symptoms of the problem. We first focus on raising awareness through community presentations and a newsletter. We then seek to help the women by holding workshops in the prison on how to write Writs of Habeas Corpus to protest their continuing incarceration. Finally, we seek to influence the Governor directly by developing letter writing campaigns for women who have been found suitable for parole by the Board of Prison Hearings. For these campaigns, we prepare information sheets and sample letters that we encourage community members to send to the Governor urging him to uphold the decisions of the Board of Prison Hearings. Since the Crossroads Advocacy Project started, our community members have sent letters to the Governor concerning the cases of ten different women.

Our newest resident, Esperanza Alvarez, was just approved for release by Governor Schwarzenegger after 26 ½ years of incarceration. Through the Crossroads Advocacy Project, many letters were sent on her behalf. Her release serves as an example that the Crossroads Advocacy Project can indeed make a difference. Esperanza plans to begin a career in vocational electronics and graphic arts. We look forward to working with her and preparing her for her bright future.

Esperanza is just one of the many women the Advocacy Project intends to help. The Crossroads Advocacy Project also benefits the Californian taxpayer. It costs $34,000 per year to house each of the 29,000 inmates serving life sentences, or approximately $1 billion a year. We strongly encourage you, the citizen, to participate in our letter-writing campaigns, in order to grant a deserving and ambitious woman a new life, and to stand up for your rights as a taxpayer. Those interested in getting involved should contact Sister Terry Dodge at
admin@crossroadswomen.org, or at (909) 626-7847.

More info on their website:

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Barbara (12-06-2008), Imani (12-10-2008), Wolf (12-06-2008)
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