Today, I celebrate my 48th birthday. It’s a bittersweet birthday because my mother is still a CDCR prison inmate. However, she’s been transferred to a new facility, a community-based prison program for women offenders.
My mother is now in CCTRP, a community-based prison program that allows women to serve the remainder of their time outside of prison walls. Although they are still considered CDCR prison inmates, there are major benefits to her going to such a program, versus being released to a halfway house after parole.
Halfway Houses VS Community Prison Programs
To be clear, many prison loved ones tend to believe that these programs are just like halfway houses. But, they are pretty much the opposite. The rules are much stricter.
Yet, these types of community prison programs seem to offer much more to those hoping to beat the recidivism odds.
What Are Halfway Houses All About?
When inmates are released on parole after doing many years in prisons, they are often sent to halfway houses. These are generally homes transformed into housing for people transitioning back into society.
There are strict rules. And, in most cases, the new releasees must exit the premises every morning to look for or go to work. Oftentimes, they have nowhere to go, leaving them with idle time to commit crimes.
Each inmate is assigned to a parole officer (PO) who gives them their own personal rules to follow. The requirements are “for their own good” but tend to be hard to follow for most ex-cons:
- See PO in person regularly
- Find and maintain steady employment
- Refraining from using drugs or alcohol
- Submit to searches by law enforcement agents
- Be prepared to move out when halfway house time is up
Although there are many requirements to remain living in a halfway house while on parole, there is very little assistance. These released inmates receive almost no help finding jobs or homes. So, they’re generally not ready to leave when the time comes.
Many of these released prisoners return to lives of crime trying to survive. Halfway houses have been proven to be added forces to the rising recidivism rates in the US. They simply are not keys to helping prisoners re-enter society.
What Is CDCR’s CCTRP Community-Based Prison Program All About?
Custody to Community Transitional Reentry Program, more commonly known as CCTRP, is a program specifically for women soon-to-be-released from California’s CDCR prisons.
It allows those with little time left to serve the remainder of their prison sentences within the walls of the CCTRP community instead of a prison facility.
Some of the services provided by this program include:
- Alcohol addiction recovery
- Drug addiction recovery
- Employment assistance
- Educational resources
- Housing placement
- Social support
- Family reunification
- Other rehabilitative services
For women serving time in CCTRP, each day counts toward their time just like it would if they were in California state prisons. They are also eligible for the same sentence reductions they would have access to inside prison walls.
Community-Based Programs Have No-Tolerance Policies
The thing to note is that this women offender prison program is very strict. Participants are there voluntarily. However, they can be shipped off to:
- California Institution for Women (CIW)
- Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) also known as simply Chowchilla
…whichever’s closer to the community program… at any time.
Although the rules state that women can be returned to a state prison with or without cause, the rules are clear cut. Even though they are in a “program,” these women are still prison inmates. That’s important for them to remember as they enter and continue in these types of programs for women offenders.
I recently connected with a mother of an inmate who was in the same prison where my mom was located before the move… CIW. She was desperately trying to reach her daughter. So, I contacted my mom via JPay email and had her find the lady for me.
Soon, I was emailing back and forth with her, sending messages to and from her mom via text. She eventually told me that she had been in a program just like CCTRP in San Diego, California (or maybe it was the San Diego CCTRP).
Until then, she had been serving her time in Chowchilla, which is just miles from her family’s neighborhood. Yet, when she was sent to a program, she was sent hours away from her Northern California home to San Diego.
Programming Inmate Gets Caught with Cell Phone… Sent Back to Prison
The young lady told me she was doing good in the program. She’d found a decent job she was proud of and was making great progress. Then, she went and got her hands on a cell phone.
See, even though she’s allowed to go out into the world and find a job, she’s still essentially a prison inmate. CDCR prisoners are not allowed to touch cell phones under any circumstances whatsoever.
So, was she arrested when she was caught with a mobile phone?
No, she never saw a local or county jail. Instead, she was placed on a prison bus and transported to the nearest California state prison. This young lady is now serving out the remainder of her prison sentence at CDCR’s CIW in Corona, CA.
These programs seem to have a “no tolerance” level when it comes to breaking the rules. But, for a woman who’s been in prison for 14 ½ years, my mother should be able to follow the rules to the tee.
The Black Out Period: Where Is Your Transferred Inmate?
When my mother was transferred from CIW to CCTRP, it was just like any other CDCR prison transfer. She was “smuggled” out with very little warning, and not allowed to make a phone call.
Then, there’s what I call the Black Out Period. That’s when your incarcerated loved one has been moved to another facility, and they can’t call, write or have visits throughout the intake period.
As a family, we went through when she was moved from:
- Twin Towers to Century Regional Detention Facility (when they moved all women in LA County Jail to this facility)
- Century Regional Detention Facility (Lynwood County Jail) to Central California Women’s Facility (Chowchilla)
- Chowchilla Intake to Chowchilla Classification (where she would be housed while at this CDCR women’s prison)
- Chowchilla to California Institution for Women (CIW)
- CIW to Community Transitional Reentry Program (CCTRP)
I received numerous JPay emails from her on Tuesday telling me how much she was freaking out. That was understandable considering she’d been in CIW for eight years.
Plus, she’s a CIW Golden Girl (older women inmates), which comes with a lot of perks in the Corona women’s prison.
Then, Wednesday, everything went silent. I had to just assume she got on the van to the program. They finally let her call me on Sunday, using a real phone… no GTL!
I was given a LOOOOOOOOONG list of things I can bring her, including a Victoria’s Secret lotion she smelled on another lady called Pure Seduction. The Black Out Period was finally over.
Sharing My Birthday with My Incarcerated Mother
Now, it’s starting to feel like she’s really almost free. Not only can I actually go shopping for her, Victoria’s Secret and all, but I can hand deliver this box to her. How exciting to go shopping for my mom for my birthday!
But, I look at this two ways:
- If I were in prison, she’d visit me on her birthday in a heartbeat.
- She is the direct reason why I am living and breathing on this earth. Why would I not honor the woman who gave birth to me on my birthday?
What an awesome birthday present for the both of us! Now, I have to dig in my bag of prison clothes to find the perfect birthday outfit that still meets CDCR prison visitor dress codes.
I didn’t think to ask. But, I have a funny feeling this community-based prison program only allows wireless prison bras and see-through prison purses and bags for visits, just like regular CDCR prisons.
And, this is one prison visit I really don’t want to miss. I plan to wear the tee-shirt above from our custom collection of Prison Loved Ones Gear & Gadgets.