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After 30 years in prison, CJCJ client is balancing college and work

CJCJ congratulates Jim for completing the San Francisco Training Partnership (SFTP) job training program, obtaining employment, and earning his degree. SFTP, a collaborative of organizations including CJCJ and Mission Hiring Hall, provides 90 days of vocational training, job leads, one-on-one staff support, and practical assistance to enable clients to secure and maintain employment.

After being incarcerated for nearly 30 years, Jim is on course to receive his bachelor's degree in psychology. He began his education while incarcerated which, due to the lack of programming in high security facilities, required dedication and perseverance on his part. 

"Anything you wanted you had to be pretty proactive about," says Jim. "For a long time, I used to just write to professors and they would send me books. So I would do their courses, but I wouldn't get the credits." Jim was later able to begin taking college courses in lower security facilities. 

Jim says he always wanted to go to college, but it had never seemed like a possibility. Experiencing family dysfunction and abuse from an early age, Jim became a ward of the court at age 13 and got involved with drugs as a young person. He says he now realizes those experiences played a part in his behavior. "I knew I was better than the person I became," says Jim. "But I’ve come to terms with all that — I understand it. That’s a big part of healing." 

However, the healing process was difficult without regular access to treatment, which was not available until he reached lower level security facilities. Jim explains the importance of treatment programs for him while incarcerated: "I managed to get involved in a substance abuse program. At that time, they didn’t allow lifers in the program, but I convinced the program manager to make an exception in my case, and basically, he saved my life."

As Jim acclimates to working full-time and pursuing his education, he is looking forward to nurturing his newfound relationships with his father, his children, and the new people he is meeting. Congratulations again, Jim!

Learn more about CJCJ's San Francisco Training Partnership and other direct services here >> 

Keywords: client, lifers, San Francisco Training Partnership, SFTP

Posted in Model Local Practices, Social Justice

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