In March we will host a celebration for the men (past and present) that have put so much into their rebuilding their lives with the tools that Freedom Through Education has provided.
We want to recognize them in front of their families and support network. 7 men will be especially recognized for going above and beyond in three categories:
Every now and again the staff takes time away from our normal duties to get away and challenge our thinking. The goal: we want to become a stronger team and serve each other better so we can serve the men better.
Not all staff were represented as some had other obligations. It truly is a blessing to be involved in this program and see not just the men's lives change, but each of ours as well.
From left facing: Jason, Bill, Delia, Arnold, Eric, Johnny,
From left backs to camera: Leo, Erin, Eugene.
We are fond of doing service projects with our men - many of whom like giving back to the community that surrounds them. Here are three slide shows of recent projects we think you will enjoy seeing.
Eugene Dey serves as the Director of Freedom Through Education Campus. He previously served as the Program Director of the Crop Organization and owns Outside Solutions Consulting. He is also formerly incarcerated.
While in prison serving an unjust life sentence as per three strikes, Eugene worked to develop a training and treatment platform so offenders could take a primary role in their transformation. He also published over 50 articles and essays going deep into what was then a system in crisis, buttressed by litigating hundreds of cases as a self-taught jailhouse lawyer. Eugene’s multifaceted activism grew into a collective effort to grow a rehabilitative program from the grass roots.
Since his 2013 release from prison, Eugene has shifted his focus from in-custody programming to building Freedom Through Education into one of the largest prisoner reentry programs in northern California.
In his free-time Eugene volunteers and consults for several organizations to end the school to prison pipeline. He is also a member of the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) Policy Team which has resulted in major criminal justice reforms in California.
As a consultant, Eugene works to develop cost-effective rehabilitative platforms and unique community partnerships in this era of criminal justice reform. Eugene holds a BA in Sociology from California State University, Sacramento (CSUS), plus he’s a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor II (CADC II), which is an advanced certification; in addition to a Forensic Addiction Counselor (FAC), which is a specialty certification. Eugene lives with his wife and children in Sacramento.
We think you will want to read the article in it's entirety.
"They sit in the circle, the man who exposed himself to at least 100 women, next to the man who molested his stepdaughter, across from the man who sexually assaulted his neighbor. The group includes Matt, whose online chats led to prison; Rob, who was arrested for statutory rape; and Kevin, who spent decades masturbating next to women in movie theaters."
At Freedom Through Education, we are privileged to work with some men that are like the ones this story refers to. Imagine living in a society where housing is hard to find for a normal person (there is a 6 month waiting list in Sacramento for apartments currently). Now add convicted ex felon onto that. It is now 8x harder to find a residence. And finally, add that your crime was a sex offense and that you are a registered sex offender. It just got near impossible to find a place to live.
Even if you complete our (or other) programs for reentry into society. Even if you have had no trouble with the law since being released. Even if you comply with parole conditions so well, they lower your risk assessment. And yes, even if historically there is little to no evidence nationally of recidivism for this type of crime. Even with all that going for you, society still treats you worse than all other ex offenders.
The link is below to the original full article. We offer it to help you understand some of the men we work with better. See what you think. And let's talk. We could use your help in changing the way these men are treated.
almostEliasar “Leo” Soria serves Freedom Through Education as an Alcohol and Other Drugs counselor/case-manager. For the 12 men residing at Munyer House he conducts individual screening and assessments, facilitating individual one on ones and leading the men in through group sessions.
He develops custom treatment plans and records progress notes, and other things to ensure clients follow their parole and treatment plans. This can lead to him modifying treatment activities and approaches for the men to comply with changes in their status.
Leo completed Foundations, Practices, Competence studies in 2010 at the California Association of Addiction Resources (CAARR). He also attended Braining Institute where he received his Registered Addiction Specialist (RAS) credential in 2012.
In his own words on why he took this career path:
I’m sharing a short story to give honor and glory to my Savior, Jesus Christ.
I’m recovering from childhood verbal and physical abuse which led me to be a long-time drug and alcohol abuser. My way of dealing with anger issues was using violence and staying high to numb my shame that I carried from my past. I got tired of going in and out of jail and finally lost my self-control to my addiction because I put it first, before my wife and two kids, almost sending me to prison for “great bodily harm to an individual”. As a result, my wife, understandably, wanted a divorce. By then I had a 12-year heroin and cocaine addiction that was taking my life.
My turning point was in March 1993 when I asked Jesus to help me out of my addiction and He did. The very next day I was delivered completely - no withdrawals whatsoever, which showed me Jesus was real and is why I’m a Christian today.
Today I am grateful to be working at Freedom Through Education with CDCR clients coming out of prison. Many struggle with addiction, others with shame and guilt from their past, and some clients grew up in dysfunctional homes that led to a lifetime of crime. I am privileged to see the men learn social skills, deal with self-control, reconnect with family and learn responsibilities (and more). I am blessed to fit in with this team at FTE so well.
Remember that banquet we had to raise funds for the new beds at our Freedom House USA Apartments? Here's a photo story of the event.
A year ago, KLOVE radio interviewed our founder, Dr. Bill Lane, for National Reentry Week. Bill explained what the problem our culture faces with men coming out of prison and what we do to combat that problem. It's a great listen if you click on the link to the audio at the bottom of page.
As the Director of Freedom House USA, Jason oversees the day to day operation for each living environment. He conducts the initial intake of the clients into their living arrangement, approves all residents for the Transitional Living Homes, submits all discharge paperwork, develops transition plans for all residents, facilitates groups and one-on-one sessions and carries a caseload of 18 men.
Born in 1955 and adopted to first generation Americans, Jonathan Todd Gottlieb, AKA “Jason”, was in trouble very early in life. Placed as a ward of the court at age 13, he was a constant resident of juvenile facilities, boy’s homes, ranches and the California Youth Authority. In 1980, he participated in the taking of a human life as an associate shot a man at his own home. Faced with the death penalty he pled nolo contendre and was sentenced to 17 years to life in state prison. As an indeterminately sentenced prisoner, Mr. Gottlieb worked hard to change himself and secure his parole and thus his liberty to become a constructive and positive citizen. After serving 25 years, 5 months and eight days he was paroled to southern California. His parole term was for five (5) years of which he did every single day successfully cooperating until an honorable discharge was given September 3, 2010. His Central file is now collecting dust in archives in Sacramento.
As a formerly incarcerated person, one of Gottlieb’s strengths is being able to recognize and dialogue with the many who are struggling with identity and coping with decision-making. Mr. Gottlieb, who has been clean and sober since 1987, thirty-one years to date, has the motivation and credibility to assist in the lives of at-risk individuals and people suffering from the disease of addiction along with the cycle of incarceration. As part of his journey to freedom, the Board of Paroles granted Mr. Gottlieb parole four (4) consecutive times, at the time the only such case in California correctional history. Governor Schwarzenegger ultimately affirmed the fourth parole decision on July 26, 2005. Mr. Gottlieb’s wealth of experience in the correctional system enables him to communicate a unique perspective of the road from incarceration to rehabilitation.
Mr. Gottlieb is now employed at Freedom Through Education as a Director of all Freedom House USA properties. Along with this he provides clinical work as he facilitates curriculum on such topics as Male Accountability, The Male Role Belief System, Re-entry and Socialization, Life Skills, Addictions and Violence Prevention. The many participants who attend his presentational sessions view these sessions as a vehicle to attaining an insight into who they are, where they are and where they dream to go. Having committed himself to the goal of attaining maturity and self-empowerment following entry into the California prison system at age 24, Mr. Gottlieb demonstrates that the incarcerated can make meaningful and lasting changes. An individual’s focus on goal setting and having a no-compromise attitude concerning integrity lends credence to sobriety, educational achievements and liberties of the mind. Attaining the wherewithal to be able to discuss and confront one’s own checkered past in a humble and accepting way toward contrition and amends making follows a time-tested path of forgiveness and enlightenment. “Change is possible” is Mr. Gottlieb’s message of hope. Jason Gottlieb now resides out in the community of Elk Grove, California with his wife Denise.
Today Freedom Through Education launched their new initiative to help those who wish to support our cause stay in touch with what we are able to do with their help.
The new logo springs from the family of current marks for the parent and subsidiary programs already in place: Freedom Campus, Freedom House USA, and Freedom Recycling. Symbolism in the mark show