FOOTPRINTS: A program for California state prisons and juvenile halls
JRJI's new program, Footprints, strives to transform the lives of incarcerated gang members by building supportive relationships and empowering them with the tools to recognize the negative reality of gang life and dissociate themselves from gang involvement. As a result of our long-term commitment, JRJI has mobilized constituencies advocating for the transformation of a more restorative than punitive justice system. With the passage of California State Bills 9, 260 and 261, along with Proposition 57, more incarcerated youth and adults have become eligible for parole consideration and re-sentencing hearings. Footprints focuses on preparing inmates for eventual release.
Under the direction of our Executive Director, Fr. Michael Kennedy, SJ, Mr. Robert "Bobby" Garcia, a former gang member who served over two decades in several state prisons, designed Footprints, and is JRJI's Assistant Executive Director. He brings incredible experience and credibility to the program, and is widely known by those inside, all who think of him as an inspirational model for their own journey.
The pedagogical approach used in this program is situational. Short disclosures on the life and influences of several characters are provided in each lesson. Themes are similar to those used in AA's Twelve Steps Program, but contoured to fit the life of a typical gang member. Discussion in small groups follows, reinforcing the need for deep introspection, leading to recognizing the need for transformation.
In 2017, JRJI launched Footprints at a Los Angeles juvenile hall facility and successfully held a graduation for 15 youth who are being tried as adults and facing life sentences. Currently, Footprints has been launched at the California State Prison-Los Angeles County in Lancaster, and is the first state prison participating in this program. JRJI's long-term goal is to bring Footprints into more prison facilities throughout California.
JESUIT RESTORATIVE JUSTICE INITIATIVE 8501 Washington Blvd. Culver City, CA 90232 (310) 559-0777 • email@example.com