Welcome to Prison Aftershock, a blog dedicated to exploring solutions for ending recidivism in California (and
America) and helping ex-offenders successfully reenter society.
The California prison population has increased nearly 600% in 30 years and the state has long suffered from one of the highest recidivism rates in the nation – nearly seven out of ten prisoners released in California return to prison within three years. To try and help tackle this problem, I and several other volunteers have begun teaching a course at San Quentin State Prison called Members of Modern American Society (MOMAS) to prepare inmates for life outside of prison.
Prison Aftershock is dedicated to discussing issues related to the prison industrial complex and to explore ways that organizations like MOMAS can help reduce the high recidivism rate in this country. Studies show the real cause of recidivism has more to do with the vast array of obstacles ex-offenders face after they are paroled as opposed to the lack of rehabilitation programs offered to prisoners while they are incarcerated (although this too is a problem).
Prison Aftershock also explores much of the work going on at San Quentin by volunteer and community organizations to help change the lives of inmates and given them hope for the future. There are about 120 different groups working in the prison. Some of the larger groups include the Prison University Project, MOMAS, Insight Prison Project, San Quentin T.R.U.S.T and the San Quentin Film School.
If businesses are not willing to hire ex-offenders (especially minority ex-offenders) once they’ve paid their debt to society, then we are simply condemning them to third class citizenship for life. What I’ve learned from teaching at MOMAS is that the inmates want to be successful. However, there is little chance they can succeed if employment discrimination based on criminal history continues to exist.
If you have any suggestions about issues you’d like to see discussed on Prison Aftershock please email me at forresthill07[at]gmail.com. I welcome all comments, questions, criticisms, and suggestions. This blog is dedicated the many volunteers and community organizations working to help ex-offenders rebuild their lives on the outside.