Mark Ashford has been out and in of the prison justice system for 26 years, by no means staying out for greater than 5 months at a time. Just a few years in the past, every thing modified with the assistance of a help program and reentry companies.
“It’s potential for individuals to alter,” Ashford, 46, advised San José Highlight. “It’s a must to have the sources.”
Buoyed by the life expertise and therapeutic courses supplied by nonprofit Carry the Imaginative and prescient at Elmwood Correctional Facility in Milpitas, Ashford denounced the jail gang he was a part of and dove into coursework.
By way of Carry the Imaginative and prescient’s Residing on Goal Program, males be taught life expertise, management growth, meditation and artwork, which led to a mural displayed on the Gilroy Middle for the Arts. Carry the Imaginative and prescient contracts with the Santa Clara County Workplace of Diversion and Reentry Providers, which operates the Reentry Useful resource Middle.
This system and reentry companies helped Ashford keep out of jail and reconnect with household. In the present day, he’s a therapeutic circle facilitator for Carry the Imaginative and prescient, inspiring others via peer mentorship. The nonprofit believes particular person therapeutic is integral to social transformation.
“I want I might performed this one million years in the past,” he stated. “This program has helped me tremendously change my life and remodel into the higher man I’m right now.”
Diversion and Reentry Providers Director Javier Aguirre stated the mural is a technique for the artists to share their emotions and struggles. The county allotted $15,000 via the California Public Security Realignment Act for Carry the Imaginative and prescient to create this mural, he stated.
“We at all times encourage people, the second they go away jail, to come back go to us on the reentry facilities,” he stated. “However generally they should be in a bunch with people who’ve gone via that journey. That is one contribution they may give to the group, this piece of artwork.”
Ashford credit Santa Clara County’s reentry useful resource facilities with serving to him get a license and discover employment via a building union.
“There’s hope on the market,” Ashford stated, “and all people deserves an opportunity at life.”
Ashford participated within the mural challenge, “Rising,” which supplies voice to the experiences of incarcerated and previously incarcerated Elmwood males residing in South County. Artist Rolando Barron, who has additionally created items for the Nevada desert competition Burning Man, painted the mural about fatherhood and connection, based mostly on the boys’s enter. There are additionally smaller artwork items by the boys.
As a part of the Gilroy Middle for the Arts mural presentation, a panel composed of legislation enforcement, former incarcerated individuals, councilmembers and representatives from the county diversion and reentry companies division mentioned compassion and reentry applications.
Santa Clara County Sheriff Bob Jonsen stated for therapeutic to occur, individuals must view one another as equals and create a tradition of compassion coupled with motion.
“We have to transcend a applications unit and rehabilitation division, and that is going to take work and funding and sources,” he stated. “But when we’ve got the desire, we are able to make it occur.”
Somewhat than individuals being launched from jail, Jonsen desires them graduating out of incarceration. Patrick Marshall, a county inmate rehabilitation officer, stated training is essential. He stated inmates have entry to group school courses to assist them earn an affiliate diploma. Marshall stated former inmates want the group to embrace them and construct them up to allow them to reinvent themselves.
Mark Segovia, a diversion program coordinator with Carry the Imaginative and prescient, participated within the mural challenge. He served time at Elmwood when he was 18 for possession of mescaline. After his launch of it, he went to Texas the place he studied to change into a chef on the Le Cordon Bleu Faculty of Culinary Arts and began a catering enterprise.
“I used to be into gangs and medicines and craziness,” he advised San José Highlight. “I used to be on the crossroads in my life on the streets. I made that call, and it modified my entire life.”
Segovia returned to South County about 10 years in the past. He joined Carry the Imaginative and prescient, taking self-care courses and instructing them at Elmwood and in the neighborhood. His household from him sees him otherwise now. His turnaround from him has even motivated his mom and sister to return to high school.
“All we knew was anger and destruction, the drug scene, gangs and jail,” he stated. “(This program is) one thing totally different and I am proof. That is help (that) I’ve by no means felt in my life to maintain me and my household going and rising.”
Contact Lorraine Gabbert at [email protected]