BAKERSFIELD,Calif. — Every time an inmate is released from prison, officials say organizations are waiting to help former inmates find the resources they need to re-enter society, and avoid going back to prison.
In Kern County, there are a number of places offering services such as job placement, housing assistance, and at times rehabilitation programs.
One of those organizations is Garden Pathways who provide some of these free services. 23ABC spoke with them today and they share the importance of them and how it impacts the community.
Juan Avila, chief operating officer for Garden Pathways, a non-profit organization, says that their goal is to transfer lives from the inside out through loving mentoring relationships.
“They are somebody’s son, father, sister and daughter,” said Avila. “We have to start working with that identity and we can’t demonize individuals and expect a different outcome.”
Garden Pathway is a free service and they work with children, youth, and adults.
“We offer comprehensive mentoring services to individuals who are facing life challenges can vary form substance abuse, homelessness and former incarceration,” Avila said.
Avila added that after the individuals are assisted in securing the basic needs as far as housing and healthy living. Then they will be guided to do a self-directed job search.
“Then they are able to achieve their employment or educational goals,” Avila said. “We help them become job ready and we have a partnership with west tech where the earn certification in industry recognized employment.”
Garden Pathways is not the only organization that offers resources. They partner with many other programs, because without them it wouldn’t be possible to do it all.
“It takes a lot of strategic collaborations amongst a lot of agencies in order for us to meet the needs and ensure that the individual heals completely,” Avila said. “And that they are able to reintegrate in our society and become a productive member of our community.”
23ABC reached out to other programs for inmates such as New Life Recovery and Residential and Training center who said they did not have a comment on this story.
23 ABC also contacted the Bakersfield Re-Entry Center who were not available at the time of publication.