The Re-Direct program brings at-risk youth with volunteer inmates and it shows the realities of being incarcerated. The Re-Direct program is strictly a volunteer program for the at-risk youth and inmates. The inmates of the Re-Direct program give the youth a close look at their past, the choices they made and what they did or did not do to get to prison.
The Re-Direct program matches inmates with students who have experienced the same problems in life.
During the Re-Direct program, the youth are given a tour of the prison to include the housing unit (where inmates live). Once they are done with the tour, the youth are escorted to meet the volunteer inmates. The inmates give their testimony about their lives, and the paths they chose which ultimately landed them in prison. After the inmate's testimony, the youth break into supervised workshops with the inmates discussing the youth's lives and the trouble they are experiencing.
After the workshop, the youth have a supervised one on one lunch with the inmates. This gives the inmates an opportunity to further open the lines of communication between the youth and the inmate. During the lunch period the inmates continue to try and deter the youth from the choices they are making and encourage them to do the right thing.
After lunch, the youth and inmates will go back into workshops and participate in exercises concerning peer pressure and realities of life. The Re-Direct program ends with the youth standing up, talking about what they learned and also makes a commitment to change their behavior and the positive choices they will make in the future.
The Re-Direct program is not funded to conduct follow-ups with individual youths. However, it does a week and six month follow-up with the sponsors/chaperones to inquire as to the status of the youth. The Re-Direct program encourages the youth to write the inmates to let them know how they are doing. All letter writing is screened through custody staff to ensure there are no concerns. We do ask sponsors to provide feedback in order to improve our program.
The participation process is based on the youth's age and/or behavior. The age ranges from 11 (based on maturity) to 17 years old. The Re-Direct program works in collaboration with the Madera Unified School District Safety and Security Department, Madera County Behavioral Health Department and the Madera County Probation Department to select participants for the program.
Although the Re-Direct program is primarily geared towards at youth risk, it is also presented to those who are not at risk so they may also experience the consequences of bad decision making. All those participating in the program cannot be on probation of any type (informal or formal).