The Importance of Resources After Jail

NORTHRIDGE, CA — For more than 30 years, Homeboy Industries and The Anti-Recidivism Coalition in Los Angeles help former gang members and inmates by providing tattoo removal services, general education classes, and jobs.

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Homeboy Industries Founder, Father Greg Boyle with current members. Credit, Homeboy Industries

The Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) in L.A. is a support network for formerly incarcerated men and women. Employees talk to inmates while they are inside so that when they get out they already have a network. The ARC provides clothes for inmates, if they need them or have an interview. The ARC is an inclusive and comfortable space for former inmates to interact and stay off the streets. Some members and employees get the opportunity to go on retreats and get out of the city. Allowing time to focus on their future, learn new skills, set goals, and relax.

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Credit, Anti-Recidivism Coalition

Adrian Vasquez is a Job Developer, In-Take Specialist at the ARC. He was incarcerated and took courses at a community college. Vasquez understands the lack of resources and wants inmates to have and participate in trade and rehabilitative programs.

Husband and father of six, Larry Butler started his own cleaning business. After serving nine years he could not find a job to support his family. He cleaned at the prison and started a residential and commercial cleaning business. Butler believes the support from his family and self-determination is the reason he was able to start the business. Butler struggled with reentry, and he lived in a small town that did not have nearby resources like Homeboy Industries or the ARC. Looking back he believes inmates need to be prepared for reentry. 

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The U.S. Sentencing Commission found within two years after being released nearly half of former inmates go back to jail for another offense or a violation of their parole. Dr. Allen Lipscomb helping to start up a men’s transformation program in South L.A. He works in the Social Work Department at California State University, Northridge. With the new transformation program Dr. Lipscomb plans on bettering the community. He said, “If we help mitigate the recidivism rates if we mitigate the pipeline trajectory not only are we saving funds we’re saving lives.”

Homeboy Industries in L.A. gives gang-involved men and women free services. Not all members have been in prison or jail. Homeboy Industries has an 18 month program that employs more than 200 men and women helping them re-identify themselves in the community. Homeboy Industries manufactures food like chips and salsa, and baked goods. Homegirl Cafe is a place where L.A. residents go to buy coffee for their day, or sit down and eat. Member, Ruth Butler plans on becoming an OBGYN. For her Homeboy Industries is a place to ask for help, she said members “have assistance with counselors, case management, sometimes you just need to relax your mind and they give you that.”

Carlos Caballeros used to sell drugs, and when his step-father told him about Homeboy Industries he was hesitant. Caballeros is 20 years old and has a son and recently graduated from community college. He is in the 18 month program and gives tours to visitors he questioned where he would be without Homeboy Industries. During the tour he explained his growth since he’s been at Homeboy Industries, “I never liked to talk to people, I was always quiet, but now I’m a public speaker and I give tours to strangers.”  

The Washington Post reported that the United States has the highest prison population in the world. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 2.3 million people in the U.S. are incarcerated.

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Contributions from, Homeboy Industries, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Sentencing Commission

Photos, Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Homeboy Industries

Video, ABC News

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#SayHerName Wants Police Brutality Against African American Women and Girls Publicized

NORTHRIDGE, CA — #SayHerName is a movement that started in 2015. It’s a call to bring attention to police brutality against black women and girls throughout the United States.

Credit, African American Policy Forum

Black women and girls everywhere, of all ages, have been killed, sexually assaulted, and beaten by police officers. Media outlets give Black men and boys, national media coverage after violent altercations with law enforcement. Say Her Name wants the same attention for Black women and girls.

The author of No Doubt: The Murder(s) of Oscar Grant, Thandisizwe Chimurenga came to CSUN. In her book, Chimurenga discusses the ways society devalues people of color. She talked about the various ways racism affects America’s criminal justice system.

When it comes to the #SayHerName movement and the deaths of African-American women she said, “Our deaths get treated as either accidental or it really wasn’t that big of a thing or a deliberative targeting.”

CSUN students got a chance to share their opinions with Chimurenga on her visit to campus and student, Shante Price, spoke about her experiences. Price’s cousin is joining the Los Angeles Police Department. Her cousin said that she and other officers are being trained not to ask questions, just shoot black and brown.

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Looking at Sandra Bland, Michael Brown, and Trayvon Martin’s cases, some would say officers are protected because they aren’t getting arrested. Twenty years ago the LAPD  worried about their officers being under prepared to deal with violence. Officer training and civil interaction is now a huge issue. In 2016, the LAPD had the most civilian shootings and deaths nationwide for the second year in a row.

Correctional Officer, Latasha Griffin is an African American woman. She said she didn’t know about the police brutality against African American women and girls, because it’s not publicized. “I read files of inmates and see what they are in for and a lot of them are crimes against Black women and girls,” Griffin said. “It kind of hardens me as how I do my job because I’m looking at it like you (officers and inmates) killed one of me.”  

#SayHerName was founded by The African American Policy Forum. They found that 1 out of 3 women and girls shot and killed by the police are African American.

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Contributions from, The African American Policy Forum, LA Weekly

Photo, African American Policy Forum

Video, FOX 9 News | KMSP-TV Minneapolis-St. Paul

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