A person’s first day released from prison is one of the most important moments of his life, but it can also be one of the most frightening. Ordinarily, men are released from San Quentin with only $200, and have to use a large portion of that money to buy “dress-outs,” their first set of clothes and a bus ride to their home county.
With the Alliance for CHANGE, members are supported on the first day of their release and beyond. In the months before their release, we buy them the essentials they need, and stock a backpack that includes a shirt, pants, socks, toiletries, bed linens, a cell phone, a Clipper card for public transportation, an address book, a journal, and vouchers for a pair of movie tickets. On their release date, our post-release volunteers pick members up at the San Quentin gate and guide them through the emotional first hours of free life, with crucial steps like reuniting with family, taking them to a store for the first time in years, and teaching them to use their phone. At the end of the day, we drive them to their new residence, wherever in the Bay Area that may be, and help them get settled in.