SBCC Reads 2016 Event: Panel Discussion

Listen to a variety of perspectives on the prison experience and criminal justice reform programs, from experts in the field including formerly incarcerated current SBCC students.

Location: A160, Santa Barbara City College
Date/Time: April 21 4-5pm

Hosted by SBCC Luria Library & SBCC Extended Opportunity Programs and Services EOPS

SBCC-EOPS student and Transitions graduate Miguel Cruz opened up our dialogue with his “Radical” Lancaster Speaking Tournament speech titled “Rehabilitation and Reform Over Incarceration.”

Panelists included:

  • Kristianne Clifford (speaking for Freedom to Choose Foundation)
      Santa Barbara native Kristianne Clifford, incarcerated 18 years in a maximum security California prison, will speak about her experiences in the criminal justice system, what she found in the book, Orange is the New Black, that resonated with her, and the program and concepts that changed her consciousness behind bars and back in society. As she says, “I attribute my successes directly to what I learned through Freedom to Choose.” Her successes are many: Creating and facilitating a variety of self-help and recovery programs while in prison; completing her AA; developing a Restorative Justice program focusing on accountability and victim awareness; completing the first Female Offender Mentor Certification Program (OMCP) where she earned her CAADAC (California Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors) certification; scoring the highest on the state CAADAC exam; and then volunteering to transfer to another prison to be in service to her peers there.
  • Jonathan D. Gomez, Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Sociology with Emphasis in Black Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
      Gomez’s dissertation investigates how aggrieved communities cognitively map and physically traverse the postindustrial city. Gomez currently teaches a course in Black and Chicana/o History at Los Prietos Boys Camp and Co-facilitates (with Dr. Diane Fujino) the Transformative Pedagogy Project at the UCSB, Center for Black Studies Research.
  • William “BJ” Leyva from The Anti-Recidivism Coalition
    • Transitions graduate William “BJ” Leyva who now resides in Los Angeles as a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (A.R.C), Inside Out Writers Program Intern, and Street Poet.
  • Joseph “Joey” Williams, Director, Faith In Action Kern County.
    • Joey Williams is currently the Executive Director/Lead Organizer of Faith in Action Kern County, a PICO affiliate. People Improving Community through Organizing (PICO) is the largest faith based community organizing network in United States. FIA Kern County and PICO CA was instrumental in passage of Prop 47 in 2014, which reclassifies low level, nonsexual, and nonviolent felonies to misdemeanors. Williams is also a recipient of Prop 47, and had felony reclassified to misdemeanor in September 2015. Williams is a graduate of SBCC, former ASB President and EOPS Club member. Joey served as Peer Advisor in the EOPS program. Williams returned to Bakersfield in 2007 and earned B.A. (History) and M.A. (Sociology), and served as a youth pastor for five years working with at risk youth.

  • Albert Perez, current SBCC- EOPS student.

      Albert says in his words: “My path of destruction started at an early age, broken home, prisons, and gangs. All my errors were embedded in a serious heroin addiction. I grew up in a violent environment full of hate, and pride thinking that there was no other way. I finally admitted I needed help. I sought alcoholics anonymous and a better education. In both of these rooms I have received insurmountable support and guidance. The people I’ve met have given me reasons to press on to a bright future.With my new life in hand I plan to help others with all I’ve been through. Inserting a spark of hope that might ignite a fire in the desire of those in need of encouragement.” Albert recently founded the SIR (Still I Rise) Club on campus.

    To learn more about SBCC Reads 2016, visit our SBCC Reads 2016: Just Mercy page.