Why it works - from those who know:

"CRI is the ONE program that puts it ALL together in one place under one umbrella as intensively as it does.  With an intentional focus on what that one individual needs for creating growth for himself to succeed going forward and ALL that entails both while still inside and once outside. Other programs have tried to have that same approach, for example one puts its focus on social issues and how a man could create community, etc. All important stuff, but assumes that the individual has ability to do self-work and commit to community involvement at same time - which most don't at this stage. CRI DOES create community and helps them plug into larger community, but it's at a pace and time when they are ready each at his own point and in his own way. It's a journey of reinvention and rededication of oneself in CRI rather than just defining and then figuring out where to fit that in. Also, CRI typically holds the men to a MUCH higher behavioral and commitment bar than other programs do. Telling them straight out that they need to demonstrate they are working twice as hard on themselves as you are in order for CRI to keep helping them. – this is just one example of why CRI is unique and successful.“  Laura Bowman Salzseider, Former Community Partnership Manager San Quentin State Prison

Pre-Release

“CRI is allowing me to discover my humanity through discussions, group participation and printed material on physical and domestic violence that have many dynamics besides interpersonal physical partner violence.  Understanding anger, abandonment, and anger management,  I now understand how to cope, control and release my anger in manners that don’t harm or hurt others.  I further understand that personal guilt can affect how I interact with others on social and personal levels and not to allow such guilt to control my life, actions or relations.  I’ve also learned that there are many aspects of emotions such as, emotional intelligence, emotional handicapped, emotional ignorance, emotional hypersensitivity, and emotional detachment.  In conclusion, if I had knowledge of these matters, I would not be in prison now. But the greatest part of CRI is the gift of knowledge that’s allowing me to become a better human being for the day I’m released back into the community.”  
 
 “In a nutshell, CRI is the best and only chance I’ve been given in 19 ½ years to figure out what has happened in my life to lead to my present day situation. With this chance, I will do all I can to learn about myself enough to get out of prison. Of course none of this would be possible without the help provided by CRI concerning transitional housing and the network they provide on the streets to help with the transition back into society.” 
 
“CRI is the most thorough and encompassing program I have been involved with. Spending a whole year on emotions is proving to be as difficult as it is a necessary component. It allows us to really spend time examining and exploring our pasts from an emotional perspective truly allowing us to integrate the knowledge and insight the curriculum has to offer into our personal practices. By developing the emotional intelligence necessary to understand our emotional histories, we gain the fundamental functioning required to succeed at any future endeavors. Along with the support they provide in preparing for and being paroled, CRI is an exceptionally unique program that is making a great difference. I am grateful for the opportunity to receive what they have to offer.” 
 
“CRI means so much. It means I have finally found the group that has actually helped me learn about me. For so long, I had been searching for ways or methods to dig deep inside myself to learn or understand why I would feel a certain way, or think a certain way. I’m not proud of a lot of things I’ve said and done in my life, and today, it is important to me to know and understand the ‘whys.’  I needed answers and CRI has helped me tremendously to find those answers. I look forward to each week to attending our group meetings. I wish we could meet more.  For now, I’m just thankful and so grateful that S.Q. (San Quentin), Collette and the facilitators have blessed us with this opportunity. Thank you.”  
 
“CRI has taught me how to change the perspective I saw the world as. I learned that if I was to change as a person, I must first change my views; the way I viewed not only the world, but myself as well. Stage by stage, little by little, the CRI program taught me how to do this. For example, I learned that it is better to understand than to be understood. Being taught how to get in touch with my own emotions has allowed me to be empathetic to my fellow human beings.  The CRI program is geared toward showing how to heal oneself in positive and constructive ways. Emotional intelligence, domestic violence, post-incarceration syndrome, dealing with anger, and knowing your triggers are a few of the many classes CRI has used to enrich my life here in prison and skills I will use upon release. Though I am benefitting from attending CRI, so does my family and friends in the community with whom I share the information.” 
  
“I have been incarcerated for 20 years and 3 months. During that time I have transitioned through several stages of personal experience and growth. Since I have been involved in the CRI program here at San Quentin, my knowledge of self as well as my knowledge of others has been enhanced. I now know why my life took this path and why I chose the lifestyle that brought me here. I feel and believe that CRI is a step in the right direction as far as my returning to society. CRI means having the necessary social understanding, skills, and knowledge to transition out of prison.” 
 
“CRI means a new beginning. It is the scientific study and application of the basic DNA of positive human interaction. CRI is an overview of self-investigation, an in depth study of our emotional intelligence, feelings and how to recognize them and alter past negative behaviors that led to crime and substitute them with productive, positive and improved behaviors and actions that lead to a more successful and fulfilling life.” 
 
“CRI is giving me the tools to see that I can change from the person I used to be. It has helped show me where I went wrong in life and has given me a better understanding of myself and why I did what I did. I look forward to more groups in this class.” 
  
  

Post-Release

"I cannot stress enough how important it is to have a safe and positive environment to transition back into society.  Roland's House provides such a place.  I feel truly blessed to be surrounded by people who are supportive and caring.  As you can only imagine transitioning back into this fast paced world can be a struggle. That is what makes Roland's House and hopefully the Next Step house so important. The reality is six months is not enough for me to set my goals for the future.  While here I have been able to focus on connecting with my family.  I have been able to ease into the computer world.  I have been able to breath and thank God for a second chance at life. None of that would be possible without this home. Roland and Collette had a dream and I thank God everyday that that dream came true. While Roland watches from above and Collette carries the load here, life for me is a blessing. Frankie graduate of our 1st class and Facilitator released November 2017 – Left Roland’s House March 1, 2019.

"I am a graduate of California Reentry Institute's Empowered Reentry Program.  I am very grateful for what I received from the program prior to being released from prison, but it has been the assistance I have received since paroling that has proved most vital.   Since I was paroling to Southern California I would not be a resident of Roland's House and have the benefit of the direct support available to the men there.  However, the assistance I have received from Collette over the phone has and continues to be an invaluable resource. Whether it was her taking the time to help with my resume or polishing my presence on employment seeking websites Collette has been an incredible help.  But most of all it has been the emotional support when times were tough that have been most helpful.  She listens and encourages and inspires me. Without going into details, I walked out of prison with a plan that was quickly and completely pulled out from under me.  I have been utilizing all the tools I learned prior to release in order to maintain my peace of mind and overcome the difficulties I face. I thank Collette and all the volunteers at CRI for all they do. Danny released October 2018."
"I am writing this to thank you for your support and to talk about what CRI has done for me.  CRI has been a blessing to me inside and outside of prison.  While in prison they helped me with a variety of things anywhere from preparing for my freedom to life skills that I needed when I was released.
 
Coming out of prison they have been by my side.  CRI provided me with the necessary items that I needed upon my reentry.  CRI has also been there for my family.  Even though I have a family that loves me and will do anything for me, they don't understand the things that I need to make my reentry back into society easier, they have been able to call the CRI family to ask questions if needed.  I am really grateful for CRI."  -Billy