Monterey Bay Justice Project

Life after prison - photo essay

by Maia Rodriguez

On Thursday, November 15, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) hosted a talk with Jordan Jeske of J&J Prison Consultants in the University Center to discuss life in prison and the struggles inmates face when re-entering society. Several participants of Jeske’s re-entry program also spoke at the event, offering their personal journeys as an inside look into the prison system and means to reduce the rate of recidivism.

“It’s a shame in a sense where people don’t really understand prison and prison culture, because in their minds and their beliefs is what they see on T.V. I just wish more people would be more aware of the prison system and what goes on… This is the future of America right here. There might be some people that get a job in the justice department, and they can actually change the culture, change society” -Jordan Jeske
“You establish routines. For those individuals who don’t… you start to lose your mind. I’ve seen guys up at Pelican Bay lose their minds. They start hearing voices, they start becoming disassociated from other people, they start talking to themselves, they start hurting themselves. Me personally, I kept busy. I read books, whatever was available… I wrote stories, I created games when I was there, board games too, we used to play chess once in a while, and you’d exercise. You establish routines from the morning to night. And you kept yourself sane that way.” -Fernando Medina
“It’s a big adjustment when you come out of prison after 31 years, but thank God for the churches, for people of faith, for compassionate people that go out everyday to help everybody, to help us transition.” -Kirt Sarkine (in front)
“For the most part, we’re just regular everyday people dealing with the same things that everybody else is.” -Ricky Cadriel
“On February 14th of 2008, I was arrested, by the grace of God. And I was sentenced to five years in prison. During that time, God saved me from a life of death and destruction. I was paroled in 2010. In my parole papers, they said I was incorrigible and a menace to society, so basically just give up hope on Mr. Jeske… I’m a business owner, and I sit on the board of an organization called CASP, Community Alliance of Safety and Peace. The mayor sits on the board, as well as the police chief, and it’s our to goal to help reduce the violence in Salinas. I’m an assistant pastor at Refuge Salinas, co-owner of J&J Prison Consultants, a commissioner at Juvenile Justice Commission of Monterey County, and Founder of Cornerstone New Hope Ministry.” -Jordan Jeske (right)
“I’ve changed my life. I’m trying to help out. I give back to the community, I volunteer all the time... because we know what it’s like to need help.” -Fernando Medina “The prisons, they need someone like you, young minds to create programs for them. Something to help them to rehabilitate themselves… so they don’t fall into that cycle of coming back.”
“You have to learn how to spend time with yourself. I found music, that was my outlet. They allowed us to have guitars, so I learned to write songs, I learned to sing and play. And I did that everyday. When I went to my job assignment, I had my guitar with me. So I would sit for hours on end and play music and write music… Keep doing the things that you know that are going to keep your mind active, that’s gonna help you grow.” -Kirt Sarkine