The California Reentry Program was started in 2003 with a single client who was interested in continuing his college education after paroling from San Quentin.
CRP founder Allyson West was teaching algebra at San Quentin when a student approached her for information on college admission and financial aid. Once this student got help, he in turn told others he knew about help that was available, and those men also came to ask for help with college, and financial aid. The questions turned to housing, substance abuse treatment and many other needs. Over the ensuing weeks and months it became clear that there was no systematic delivery of information about available services and opportunities in local communities to people in incarceration prior to their release.
The program expanded to the Level I facility outside San Quentin’s walls in late 2003 and then to all the prison’s mainline residents in 2004.
CRP incorporated in 2007 and received its nonprofit status in 2008. It is supported almost entirely by individual and foundation support.
The program serves more than 200 men at San Quentin every month.
They have access to volunteer advisors two evenings and one afternoon every week. The California Reentry Program recruits and trains almost 100 new volunteers from the community each year.