July 13, 2021

Contact: Nicholas Reiner, [email protected], (213) 588-1720

ARC’s Hope and Redemption Team to Expand to 31 CDCR Prisons

CA budget includes funding for rehabilitative programming, establishment of Office of Youth and Community Restoration (OYCR), elimination of fees, and funding for survivors and victims of crime. 

SACRAMENTO –  Yesterday, Governor Newsom signed into law a budget which includes significant funding for rehabilitative programming inside California prisons, reentry services for returning citizens, survivors and victims of crimes, and age-appropriate care for system-involved youth. Most notably, the state will fully fund the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC)’s transformative Hope and Redemption Team (HART), in which ARC Life Coaches who served life sentences go back into CDCR institutions to provide parole board preparation, rehabilitative programming, and reentry support to those still in confinement. The funding will allow the Hope and Redemption programming to operate in 31 prisons.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to provide rehabilitative support to people incarcerated throughout the state of California,” said Sam Lewis, Executive Director of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC). “The Hope and Redemption team creates meaningful jobs for formerly incarcerated people throughout the state, increases public safety, and will lead to more people coming home to their families and being productive members of their communities.” 

ARC’s Hope and Redemption team currently provides programming to 10 CDCR institutions.  The approved budget provides General Fund support over the next three years to scale Hope and Redemption programming to 21 additional prisons, enabling ARC to hire 30 additional formerly incarcerated life coaches. People incarcerated in California’s state prisons face numerous challenges to their rehabilitation because they experience barriers to prosocial peer support, a continuum of support services from incarceration through reentry, and a clear path to a crime-free, successful life. The opportunity to learn from and engage with other individuals who experienced incarceration first-hand and have turned their lives around is not only transformative, but a highly effective intervention. 

“Participating in the Anti-Recidivism Coalition’s HART Program helped me successfully reintegrate into society,” said Mark Taylor,  ARC Hope and Redemption Life Coach, who participated in the Hope and Redemption Team program while incarcerated. “This essential program connected me to vital resources after my release as well, including housing, employment, a healthy support network, counseling, etc. Simply stated, the lessons that I learned in this class have served me well in every sphere of life.”

We applaud the California legislature and Governor Newsom for investing in the expansion of credible-messenger programming, bringing this program to 110 total prison yards. This decision will have strong fiscal and humanitarian returns as recidivism is reduced and community well-being is increased both inside and outside of the prisons. 

“The Anti-Recidivism Coalition’s Hope and Redemption Team is one of the most successful programs I have been involved with,” said Jim Robertson, Warden at Pelican Bay State Prison. “The success of this program is largely based upon the fact the facilitators are formerly incarcerated, which brings them great credibility with the population they provide rehabilitative and reentry programs to. It is my hope and sincere recommendation that we continue this program at PBSP, and throughout all of our institutions. PBSP is indeed blessed to have such a team and program here for the men.” 

Also included in this budget are the following investments in our incarcerated and free communities.

  • Provides $27 million ongoing General Fund to establish the Office of Youth and Community Restoration that was created in the Health and Human Services Agency pursuant to SB 823 (Chapter 337, Statutes of 2020). 
  • Reduces the debt of low-income Californians by eliminating various criminal administrative fees. Eliminates various criminal administrative fees and the civil assessment fee of up to $300 for failure to pay or failure to appear without good cause and makes the unpaid balances of the associated fees uncollectible. Includes $151 million General Fund in 2021-22, $151 million in 2022-23, $130 million in 2023-24, and $120 million in 2024-25 and ongoing to backfill the revenue associated with the eliminated fees. 
  • Further investments in rehabilitation, re-entry, and recidivism reduction strategies. Includes a “Rehabilitation, Re-entry and Recidivism Reduction” package of $200+ million. This package includes career development, rehabilitative programming, family connection, local support for individuals to remain out of the criminal justice system, and removal of barriers to successful re-entry. The Hope and Redemption team funding comes from this package. 
  • Pine Grove Conservation Camp will remain open to provide opportunities for incarcerated youth to assist in fire prevention. Pine Grove provides critical reentry & job training to justice-involved youth, while counties across CA can send youth to Pine Grove without committing them to Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ). 
  • A focus on survivors and victims of crime with $175 million General Fund for various programs to support survivors of domestic violence, sexual violence, human trafficking and forced sterilization. Includes $50 million for homeless youth emergency services and housing programs.