56 inmates graduate Kern Valley State Prison in-prison reentry program

Inmates celebrate reentry transition ceremony at Kern Valley State Prison
The 56 inmates graduating from the In-Prison Program at Kern Valley State Prison voluntarily participated in 325 hours of evidence-based reentry programming to prepare for life after incarceration.

The Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP) held a transition ceremony on March 8 to celebrate 56 inmates who graduated from the facility’s voluntary, six-month reentry program. Participants were able to invite family members to attend the graduation event hosted at the maximum-security facility in Delano, California, where each graduate received a certificate of completion in recognition of their accomplishment.

The In-Prison Program at KVSP, provided by GEO Reentry Services in partnership with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), uses evidence-based practices to prepare individuals for a productive life after incarceration. The reentry program addresses individuals’ criminal thinking with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and closely monitors each participants’ progress as they work through the 325-hour program.

“We are very proud of all the graduates who willingly participated in the reentry programming we provide for CDCR here at Kern Valley,” Supervising Counselor for GEO Reentry Services at Kern Valley State Prison Jennifer Chavez said. “Completing the program is a great accomplishment in a Level IV maximum security prison, as there are a variety of obstacles that occur on a day-to-day basis.”

The facility also welcomed guest speaker Alexandar DeVora, an ex-offender who successfully changed his life and now works in rehabilitation. DeVora delivered an uplifting speech, encouraging participants and their guests to focus on the journey ahead and stay motivated towards a life without crime.

In addition to the In-Prison Program at KVSP, GEO Reentry designed the Long-Term Offenders Program (LTOP) for the CDCR to address the specific needs of individuals released after being incarcerated for long periods of time, including life sentences. The program has received praise from local officials and leaders in the criminal justice field for preparing long-term offenders to reintegrate to their communities while boasting a recidivism rate of just four percent—about 20 times lower than the U.S. average recidivism rate of 76.6 percent.

“It is our mission to provide the tools to assist in a successful return to society that will lower recidivism and keep the community safe,” Chavez said.

In-prison reentry programs like the GEO Reentry program at KVSP help inmates leverage their time in the criminal justice system so they are better equipped to be productive and responsible members of society upon release. By promoting pro-social behavior and holding individuals accountable when they deviate from their reentry program, reentry services help lower recidivism and end the cycle of reincarceration. With additional classes like work readiness training, parenting skills, anger management and substance abuse counseling, inmates who participate in in-prison reentry learn how to repair relationships with their loved ones and ultimately enjoy a sense of purpose when they rejoin their communities.