FOLSOM (CBS13) — Nearly 200 inmates at California State Prison Sacramento are getting the chance to network with outside agencies, to help with their transition out of prison.
The state’s Division of Adult Parole Operations held its very first re-entry fair at the prison’s maximum-security facility Friday. The Department of Education and several housing agencies were on hand to answer inmates’ questions.
For the first time ever, lifers at California State Prison Sacramento are getting a chance to prepare themselves for the real world — if they can get out on parole.
Martin Miller got his chance five years ago.
“I was an addict. I was addicted to methamphetamine and it changed me to the point where I took a man’s life,” Miller said.
Miller served over 20 years at several state prisons around the state. During that time, he became an optician, lens-crafting from the inside. Miller now works as an optician for a local corporation while mentoring paroled lifers.
“We support each other and ask what’s going on in our lives. We discuss things like housing, family problems, where I fit in these days, that kind of thing,” Miller said.
To lifers like Bryan Lewis, Miller is an inspiration, showing there’s life outside prison walls.
“He was a big inspiration. To hear the progression and the transition he went through,” said
Lewis has eight years to go before he could be released on parole. As chairman of several empowerment groups inside the prison, Lewis is doing everything he can to successfully transition into the real world.
“Really focusing on changing your mentality, changing your character and your attitude,” Lewis added.
Lewis has big dreams of owning a trucking company. With all the resources being provided by the Division of Adult Parole Operations, Lewis says he’s one step closer to one day achieving his dream.
“It gives me a big glimpse of hope, because there are a lot of resources that I wasn’t aware of, that parolees had available,” said Lewis.
According to the Division of Adult Parole Operations, programs geared to helping long-term offenders transition out of prison have been successful at keeping them from going back in.