Saturday, July 26, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Tool helps inmates with social, coping skills

CSP-Solano self help class 3_12_14

California State Prison, Solano inmate Cotton Jones, center, takes part in a class on conflict resolution Wednesday, as part of the prison's In Building Self Help program. The program is intended to help inmates make better decisions, improve communication and manage anger. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | March 15, 2014 |

Editors note: This is another in a series of articles out of California Medical Facility and California State Prison Solano, both located in Vacaville.

VACAVILLE — Primes Harrell was just a couple of days shy of being handed his high school diploma when he got into trouble last year at age 18.

He ended up in a Level II dormitory-style facility at California State Prison Solano, sharing space with hundreds of men – mostly older than him – instead of sharing a place with his buddies for some after-graduation summer fun.

The Vacaville state penitentiary is not where the now-19-year-old from Stockton said he wants to stay. If inmate Cotton Jones has anything to say about it, Harrell will learn the skills he needs to stay out of trouble when he is released next year. And be a productive father to his three young children.

“I’m looking at people (here) who have been (in prison) half of their life,” said Harrell, a soft-spoken teen who admitted to fighting a lot while in school. “If I stay here, my kids aren’t going to have any respect for me and if I stay here, I won’t have a relationship (with them).”

Enter Jones.

Jones, like Harrell, is an inmate. He’s the program coordinator for the Level II In Building Self Help program at the prison and was instrumental in its implementation. It’s a one-of-a-kind, peer-to-peer prison program developed by Associate Warden of Level II Operations Kim Young.

He is a 27-year veteran in corrections who oversaw the development of the program when tough financial times resulted in staff reductions and suspended programs a few years ago. It was designed to cut down on idle time with no cost to the taxpayer – staff and inmate volunteers, donations and 15-cents-on-the-dollar inmate positions are its backbone.

The classes focus on such subjects as making better choices, communication techniques, soul-searching and anger management. There are dozens and dozens of choices that also include book clubs and parenting classes – the latter taken by Harrell. Inmate facilitators go through eight hours of general training and then several weeks of training unique to the class they will teach.

While the classes are open to all Level II inmates, Jones said he wants to reach the young ones who wind up in prison. With him, he said, they’ve found a mentor and a safe haven within the walls of a place that can be overwhelming.

On a recent day, as Jones walked through his dormitory facility, he pointed to his bunk – one of the younger inmates, another 19-year-old – was fast asleep.

“He feels safe there,” Jones said.

“We have something in place to help them find balance,” he said of the program, and of a mentoring program designed to help younger prisoners. “When they turn around and (get) out of (prison), they know how to be a better person. Right now, they don’t know how.”

On this recent day, an inmate facilitator conducted a Bible class close to Jones’ bunk, but Jones spent most of his time in another Level II building, sitting in on a class called Conflict Recognition and Resolution for Effective Goal Setting.

The 12-session class has several prerequisite classes: Denial Management, Anger Management, Victim Awareness and a substance abuse class if that was an issue prior to incarceration.

“Most of the time, substance abuse is involved,” said Ronnie Randon, an inmate class member.

Randon is one of several inmates in the class that is taught by two inmate co-facilitators, Richard Bell and Shavar Gilliam. The class location, and the official “office” location of the In Building Self Help program, is an alcove that also houses six inmate bunk beds, next to the showers.

It’s within the direct eyesight of an overhead guard location. It’s not a quiet place, with other inmates involved in myriad pursuits beyond the alcove, but those in attendance inside the alcove gave Bell and Gilliam their full attention, taking notes and asking questions.

The class’s premise is effective goal-setting and reaching those goals despite obstacles and conflicts using the works of Zig Zigler, Abraham Maslow (Hierarchy of Needs) and Lawrence Kohlberg (Theory of Moral Development).

“Every time I teach (this class), I’m getting a better understanding of conflict I have within myself,” Gilliam said.

He admitted that goal-setting is still tough for him because he was so “used to going on a whim.”

Aside from the class’s premise, a sense of community and knowledge of himself is Stephen Bogovich’s takeaway.

“I never understood ‘community’ until I came to the self-help groups,” he said.

Young said there is nothing like the program within the California prison system. She said that it’s not unusual for her to get calls asking about the program’s setup. She credits Jones with being one of the reasons the program exists. It’s cut down on discipline reports and recidivism, Young said.

“I call it ‘bringing the mountain to Mohammed,’ ” she said, citing an adaptation of a popular phrase. “It helps them interact and gives them social skills they probably didn’t have when they came in.

“Out of everything I’ve done in my career, it’s the most powerful . . . meaningful, I should say.”

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or swinlow@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 5 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Tax Payer and Victim advocateMarch 15, 2014 - 5:23 am

    There was not a sentence on what crime he committed and how is his victim doing today. BS. You don't get to go to state prison for a minimal offense. BS

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • mescMarch 15, 2014 - 7:16 am

    I was going to write the very same thing. Notice it wasn't a crime? It was "got into trouble". BS He committed a FELONY Crime. I have "got into trouble" and my parents punished me and I didn't get into trouble again. I've never committed a FELONY and been sentenced to Prison!! Please everyone read puff pieces for what they are. This article is not journalism, but a SLANTED VIEWPOINT of the author. WTH is with the D.R. putting these stories on the front page all the time? Multiple times a year we are wrongly told how every druggies at Solano Mission and the other half way (back to the streets) house are "going to do great". Never the follow up when they are re-arrested/back to a life of crime. <<<<>>>> I want everyone to be a success, but I also want honesty in reporting.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • bob iacampoMarch 15, 2014 - 8:12 am

    I was curious as well as to what offense garnered a two year prison sentence in the State Pen but it really doesn't matter. The man was aggressive, had three kids before he was incarcerated, and did not obtain a high school diploma. He and these kids would otherwise become a life long burden on society without a change in direction. I applaud the work being done with this program and hopefully will transform this young man into a productive individual and a good father keeping him from the dockets, supporting his own children, and being a good mentor to others. I certainly hope the young man sticks with it and doesn't succumb to peer pressure once released. He will need to motivate himself to gain a GED and job training.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensMarch 15, 2014 - 10:35 am

    They are ''Jerry's kids' and ''the sons of Obama''.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • gmlgrahamMarch 15, 2014 - 4:11 pm

    "He that is without sin among you....TaxPayer & Victim Advocate and Mesc....let him cast the first stone." Jesus Christ!!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

 
Large party to honor entry into Army

By Brad Stanhope | From Page: A2

 
 
Crashes snarl Friday traffic on Interstate 80

By Glen Faison | From Page: A3, 3 Comments | Gallery

 
Abrams to speak at Democratic Club meet

By Barry Eberling | From Page: A4

 
Fairfield police log: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

Suisun City police log: July 24, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A9

 
Share nature’s bounty with others

By Murray Bass | From Page: B10

 
Physical activity may diminish fatigue

By Scott Anderson | From Page: B10, 1 Comment

Weather for Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B11

 
.

US / World

Police still investigating after burglar killed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1, 3 Comments

 
What happened? The day Flight 17 was downed

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

US: Russia is firing across border into Ukraine

By The Associated Press | From Page: A1

 
Large Sandy-struck family splits $20M lottery win

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

BART station reopens after reported bomb threat

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
California county sues over subdivision slide

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Wildfire forces evacuation of rural NorCal homes

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ex-Bell councilwoman gets 2 years for corruption

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

Database details California school employee pay

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
California state senator facing additional charge

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

Designer: Bay Bridge bolts don’t need replacing

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Sheriff: 300 homes burned in Washington wildfire

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

Pelvis pix victims must feel trauma to share $190M

By The Associated Press | From Page: A6

 
Taiwan plane survivor crawls out, phones dad

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Teams converge on remote site to probe plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Former CIA officials can’t see ‘torture’ report

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

Same-sex marriage ban struck down for Miami area

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10

 
Migrants: Obama urges Latin leaders, GOP to help

By The Associated Press | From Page: A10, 2 Comments

Ebola outbreak spreads to 4th West African country

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

 
Gaza sides agree to lull but truce efforts stall

By The Associated Press | From Page: A11

.

Opinion

Top 3 ways to impress an employer

By Deon Price | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

 
Editorial Cartoons: July 26, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Immersion kindergarten class in jeopardy

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A8, 1 Comment

Cheers, jeers for the week of July 20-26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: A8

 
.

Living

Today in History for July 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: July 26, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes for July 26, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: B5

 
I’m not attracted to my husband since he’s gained weight

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

.

Entertainment

Sam Raimi announces planned ‘The Last of Us’ film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Nolan, McConaughey surprise with ‘Interstellar’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Comic-Con gets first look at ‘Mockingjay’ trailer

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Bazinga! ‘Big Bang Theory’ writers hit Comic-Con

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Scientists make love, war weapons in ‘Manhattan’

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7 | Gallery

 
TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A7

.

Sports

Forces strong during NHRA qualifying at Sonoma Raceway

By Brian Arnold | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Fairfield Expos bats come alive in 13-2 win

By Marcus Lomtong | From Page: B1

Raiders brimming with optimism at start of camp

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
49ers ready to fill big void for injured Bowman

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

Puig, Dodgers go triple-crazy, beat Giants 8-1

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1

 
7-shot lead for Langer at Senior British Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Furyk, Petrovic, share Canadian Open lead

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
US rebounds to win twice in International Crown

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Hammel 0-3 for A’s after 4-1 loss to Rangers

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
With Nibali in command, Tour is about 2nd place

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

FIFA rejects calls to strip Russia of World Cup

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Marshawn Lynch missing as Seahawks camp begins

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

Dallas Cowboys LB McClain convicted in Alabama

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
Horsey in halfway lead at Russian Open

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2

 
This date in sports history for Saturday, July 26, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

NASCAR drivers want changes on the schedule

By The Associated Press | From Page: B11

 
.

Business

Russian execs fear lasting damage from plane crash

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Global tensions don’t dent enthusiasm for stocks

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Feds probe Dodge Charger alternator complaints

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Towering worry: Small holes cause big jitters

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

McNuggets pulled from sale in HK after meat scare

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
US to evaluate Impala air bag performance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Family feud sparks revolt at grocery store chain

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
Fast food workers prepare to escalate wage demands

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

Orders for US durable goods up 0.7 percent in June

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
.

Obituaries

Pamela Dixon

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A4

 
Mary Bell Scrivner Sanders

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

Arturo Montenegro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4, 1 Comment

 
Mary Spingola Stagnaro

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

 
Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B4

Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B5

 
.

Home Seller 07/26/14

Real estate transactions for July 26, 2014

By Daily Republic | From Page: HSR2

Citation Northern offers new Madison Lane homes

By Barry Eberling | From Page: HSR2

Average US 30-year mortgage rate at 4.13 percent

By The Associated Press | From Page: HSR2