GEO Reentry program in Kern County organizes special event

GEO Reentry Services, a local radio DJ, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation collaborated recently to deliver a unique event for inmates at the North Kern State Prison in Delano, Calif. The event, called “The Healing Tour,” included motivational speakers and local musicians.

Danielle Gonzales, Program Director for GEO Reentry’s In-Prison Treatment program operated at the facility, teamed up with Danny Morrison, a DJ at 103.9 Radio in Bakersfield, to organize this summer event. More than 100 inmates attended.

“Our staff are committed to delivering evidence-based services to help inmate participants move on to positive lives after program completion,” Ms. Gonzales said. “We work hard to try to find unique ways to deliver programs and activities that promote a desire for change in criminal behavior and substance abuse. The ‘Healing Tour’ was a great success in achieving this goal.”

Mr. Morrison spoke to the inmates about a movement he initiated called “#howlong,” a social media campaign that urges others to ask “How long” before crime, incarceration and barriers can be lifted that hold people back from achieving their best.

Andrew Jones, a Senior Substance Abuse Specialist for GEO Reentry’s Kern program, also spoke to the audience. Mr. Jones has overcome many of life’s barriers to achieve his goals, touring the world as a celebrity fitness trainer, and is now in a field he loves helping others recover from substance abuse.

Singer/songwriter Crimson Skye and singer/songwriter Venessa Saldana performed, and Blaine Hodge, an activist and poet, delivered a strong message of his positive experience. Mr. Hodge was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor Citizen’s Honor Award for a Single Act of Heroism.

“The feedback from the crowd for this event was very positive and many were inspired,” Ms. Gonzales said.