(From a July 24 @VoicesofSanQuentin Instagram post)
This is Chris Scull who paroled last week Monday after more than 20 years in prison. If you recall from our earlier posts featuring Chris, we shared that he had made plans to parole to the Bay Area, but just before he was released from San Quentin, while still in R&R, he was told that he was going to be taken to LA. Through other releases we are hearing about, this kind of chaos does not seem to be exclusive to Chris’ experience. And in general, we know that there is often a disconnect between what counselors on the inside tell people who are found suitable for parole about re-entry and making arrangements on the outside. Parole officers we speak to say that the department is simply too large to handle individual circumstances…. And we wonder why people slip through the cracks… Well in Chris’ case, when he was transferred to LA, his community of supporters — his coaches and fellow runners of the 1000 Mile Club, the prison’s running club @sqmarathon — sprung into action and within 24 hours submitted 10 (yes 10!) support letters to HQ in Sacramento requesting Chris’ swift transfer back to the Bay Area. Today we have great news to share! Yesterday HQ approved Chris’ transfer back to the Bay Area! And today, Chris will be making the drive back up north! Happy Friday! Chris’ story is just one of many great examples why programming is so vital.
This is why accessibility to volunteer-led programs is so important. During long prison sentences, many incarcerated people become isolated and lose touch with their families. So bonds with outsiders, developed through programming opportunities can be critical to showing there is support on the outside which can convince a parole board to grant release. It is estimated that 4,000 volunteers pass through the gates of San Quentin annually to lead programs from Shakespeare to computer coding. Inside the walls there are so many people who have done the hard internal work on themselves to rehabilitate, which is why we believe they deserve a chance to come home. Call 916-445-2841 and tell Gov Newsom you support #second chances #stopsanquentinoutbreak #endmassincarceration #ittakesavillage
Disclaimer: The views in this article are those of the author. The Prison Journalism Project has verified the writer’s identity and basic facts such as the names of institutions mentioned. The work is lightly edited but has not been otherwise fact-checked.