BREAK IT TO MAKE IT

Los Angeles Mission Joins Los Angeles City College and the Strindberg Laboratory to Assist in Transition to Life Outside Prison

Los Angeles, California — October 10, 2016 — Up to 60,000 inmates will be released from prison this year. The US Department of Justice reports that a reduction in recidivism requires collaboration to be successful. Programs like this one, the newly planned, “Break It To Make It” has the potential to make sure they don’t wind up returning to prison.

In a first-ever collaboration between Los Angeles City College (LACC), the Strindberg Laboratory and the Los Angeles Mission with support from the California Department of Corrections (CDCR) and Los Angeles County Jails will participate in the painstaking process of easing released prisoners back into the mainstream. Through art, higher education and rehabilitative services, this prison to college program will provide the opportunity for program participants to be successful reintegration into society and reaching their potential.

The new program, called “Break It to Make It,” is set to begin in 2017. Newly released prisoners will be housed at the Los Angeles Mission while they enter into college level courses at LACC. Utilizing the arts and education to transform their thinking, the program will show the men new patterns of behavior that can chart a successful course away from prison.

For its part, the Los Angeles Mission will provide housing, meals, counseling, physical education and work therapy for up to a year. The Mission partners with the Chicago School of Psychology to provide mental health services available to participants. The men will also receive one-on-one discipleship and support as well as educational and career services at the Mission.

“We are seeing more and more people come directly to Skid Row from prison or jail,” says Herb Smith, President of the Los Angeles Mission. “They present a unique counseling challenge. We want to provide the best possible outcomes for them through our programs. This partnership will give us the opportunity to work with Strindberg Laboratory and LACC to creatively expand what we offer. This innovative program has the potential to give participants the wherewithal to completely restore and rejuvenate their lives and their families.”

Funding for the initial year of this program came by a collaborative state legislative effort led by Assemblyman Mike Gipson alogn with many other state senators and assembly members.

Strindberg Laboratory has led participatory drama programs in the LA County Jail and California State Prisons. Inmates have written and produced plays for themselves and others in the facilities, with a strong focus towards changing their lives upon release. The Los Angeles Mission has taken part in these productions.

The first members of this reentry program will be drawn from the ranks of those who have been involved in these prison productions. They will receive: credit for classes at LACC, free books, and peer-to-peer counseling, along with support and job preparation coursework.

All of these institutional collaborators will be working hard to secure additional sources of funding to guarantee that the program has the resources to continue for the long-term.

About Strindberg Laboratory

The Strindberg Laboratory, a non-profit 501 (c) 3 tax deductible organization, is focused on bringing hope to segments of society affected by the increasing gap between rich and poor. We are one of the only theater companies in Los Angeles County whose members consist entirely of the formerly incarcerated. We provide theater workshops both inside Los Angeles County Jails and California State Prisons as well as in greater Los Angeles.

About Los Angeles City College

Set on an attractive 49 acres, Los Angeles City College was the original location for UCLA before it moved to Westwood, CA. The college facilities include more than a dozen multistory classroom buildings including a library, computer labs, fitness centers, theatre, and TV/film studios. Through a $147 million bond award, the college is further enhancing itself with a renovated Music building, new Kineseology building, Holmes Hall renovation, and new Student Services building. Our student body is one of the most diverse in the country. Students range in age from late teens to seniors and come from every ethnic group, culture and country in the world. To learn more about LACC go to:www.lacitycollege.edu

About the Los Angeles Mission

For 80 years, the Los Angeles Mission has served those men and women who find themselves homeless in the Skid Row area of downtown Los Angeles. The Mission provides needed emergency services such as shelter, food and clothing. In addition, the Los Angeles Mission also offers long-term residential rehabilitation programs, including education, job training, transitional housing and counseling. Go to www.losangelesmission.org to learn more about the Los Angeles Mission.

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