Healing Dialogue, LA, Sat. July 22nd

Dear friends,

FYI, read on below and check this linked flyer:

Maybe I’ll see you there?
Regards to all,
PS. Note that there is an extra “ing” in one of the 2 contact email addresses on the flyer.

We have a Healing Dialogue coming up on Saturday, July 22nd. It is a wonderful opportunity for families who have had a loved one murdered and families who have a loved one serving an extreme sentence in prison to come together in facilitated small groups to share, learn, and support each other in a compassionate and loving environment.

Our Healing Dialogue will take place at the centrally located, beautiful campus of Mt St Mary’s College. As usual, our gatherings are bilingual (English-Spanish) and light breakfast and lunch are provided. We may also be able to help with transportation.
This gathering is intended for family members over the age of 15 who have not attended HDA retreats in the past.
Please share the flyer. I hope you have folks who can join us!

Quote from an HDA member: “My son was murdered over 17 years ago. I have attended every kind of therapy you can imagine. Nothing has helped me to heal more than attending an HDA gathering”
Javier Stauring
11500 West Olympic Blvd. Ste.540
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Uniting for Healing and Change

B2F is now on amazon books

Hi everyone,

Bridges to Freedom is now available for purchase on amazon books for $6.63 (or thereabouts. It varies a few cents).  This means you can order it online, and have it mailed to your loved one directly from amazon, as a book.

$6.63 covers amazon’s costs. We are not collecting royalties, out of respect for Dan and his family.

THANK YOU’s: to geri and the Fair Chance Project in LA who were copying and mailing B2F out to so many.  And to Jared Rudolph at the Prisoner Reentry Network who organized publication.

Please pass this news on!

Kim & James.

Bridges to Freedom, v. 4 (2014): minor edits

Some small but important edits have been made to:

  1. Chapter 5, page 61 ~ The Key Point to Consider at the bottom of the page has been changed to read:  Key Point to Consider: If the hearing panel attempts to rely on police reports to deny suitability for parole, the parole candidate’s attorney should argue that arrest reports are not reliable enough to support a finding of [un]suitability (See U.S. v. Bell (8th Cir. 1986) 785 F2d 640, 644.) 
  2. Chapter 6, page 76 ~ minor typos corrected in Questions 8 and 18.

    –> The files for Chapters 5 and 6 in the right-hand column of this site have been updated to reflect these changes.

Bridges to Freedom (4th Edition, 2014)

To all who come into this site: Welcome!!

James has reworked and edited Bridges to Freedom making it more user-friendly in all senses:  advice, content, examples, exercises. The book is  over there in the right hand column –>
It has been broken down into chapters and sections to make download and printing easier (we hope).
In alignment with the Fair Chance Project in LA,  the mission of Bridges to Freedom is to  provide every life term parole candidate with the opportunity to learn life skills for regaining freedom from restraint. The focus is fourfold:

  1. Believing change is possible, by accepting that growth can be achieved beyond the negative influences of the past;
  2. Unmasking unresolved questions to the life crime behavior, and developing insight into understanding the key background factors leading up to the crime/s that occurred;
  3. Undertaking self-portrait examination, introspection and reflection, confronting images of the past by developing insight into actions;
  4. Changing the negative outlook on life by experiencing the rewards of putting remorse into action.

James looks forward to your inquiries and we would appreciate any feedback from you.

Kim & James DeBacco

Print copies of Bridges to Freedom will be available from
Fair Chance Project
Tel: (310) 677 7445

Bridges to Freedom (3rd edition, 2013)

In recent weeks, James DeBacco has reworked Bridges to Freedom and added new chapters. It’s a bumper edition! Broken into 4 parts, it’s available for download and printing in the right hand column.

James continues to facilitate the Bridges to Freedom workshops on D-Yard at Calipatria State Prison.  He hopes you and your loved one inside will find it practical, motivating and helpful.

James updates the book as and when laws and circumstances change.  The Bridges to Freedom chapters are not perfect, nor are they foolproof; we can’t guarantee that anyone who uses them will be granted parole.  

James is a certified Jailhouse Lawyer member of the National Lawyers Guild, S.F. Bay Area chapter (Aug. 2012). He is also an official Jailhouse Lawyer member-at-large of the National Lawyers Guild (Dec, 2012).

James is gathering testimonials (check the tab above!), and he welcomes any letters of support and thanks for Bridges (or Positive Interventions) at: jamesdebacco@gmail.com.  His wife Kim will forward copy to him by mail.

Bridges to Freedom (2012) is now available!

“Believing change is possible begins by putting remorse into action.” (James DeBacco)

James has completely rewritten Bridges to Freedom and added new material, in light of his experiences with the parole board last year, and with input from the men doing in the Bridges to Freedom workshops with him at Calipatria State Prison.

You can now download the revised and expanded version of Bridges to Freedom, by clicking on the two links at right.  If you are having trouble accessing them,   email James at jamesdebacco@gmail.com and Kim will forward you a copy of the book file as an email .pdf attachment, or find another way to send you a copy.

James sent me this text about the book:
Bridges to Freedom provides every potential parole candidate a step-by-step instructional guide to learning what it takes to “regain freedom from restraint”. Bridges to Freedom is about believing change is possible by accepting that we can learn to grow beyond the negative influences of our past. Bridges to Freedom challenges every parole candidate to unmask unresolved questions to their life crime behavior, and develop insight into understanding the key background factors leading up to the crime that ultimately occurred.

Crossing over the bridges to freedom requires self-sacrifice and personal commitment to oneself. Areas of exploration will take the parole candidate on a self-discovery journey confronting the likely questions concerning: “What is the parole board?” “How can a parole candidate achieve parole board readiness?” “What impact does crime have on society?” “What does it mean to have insight?” “How can I understand the detrimental impact of my choices?” etc.

Through self-portrait examination, introspection, and reflection, parole candidates will learn how to confront the images of their past, explore their behavior choices, and unlock the insights to their actions.  In this revealing identity transformation, parole candidates will learn what steps to take to stop the revolving door of recalcitrant behavior, and change the negative outlook on their lives – by putting remorse into action.

New: “Positive Interventions”

James has designed a new workshop series and self-help manual called “Positive Interventions” – an offender-based self-help study program, that is designed to support the development of insight, remorse, responsibility and pro-social skills.  He has the full support of the institutional psychologists for the program, and I hear they have applied to CDCR in Sacramento to have it officially recognized as an approved self-help course.  This makes it eligible for funding (for basics like paper & pencils, go figure…!) and for support by an institutional co-ordinator. Hopefully, it might spread to other institutions.

The inmates taking the new workshop on his yard at Calipatria SP are apparently thrilled with this new program and recommending it come before Bridges.  I don’t have electronic copy of it…yet!  When I do, it will go up on the Bridges to Freedom blog.

Welcome to Bridges to Freedom!

Welcome to BridgesToFreedom! – your lifer inmate’s bridge to freedom! This blog has been set up to provide links and free resources to support inmates’ efforts at parole.

The files are available free for download.  We hope they are helpful!  (The links will take you to Google Docs.)  They will be updated as soon as possible when laws and circumstances change.  The Bridges to Freedom chapters are not perfect, nor are they foolproof; we can’t guarantee that anyone who uses them will be granted parole.   The files will be updated regularly.  The author, James DeBacco, is himself working from the inside, at Calipatria State Prison.

Mail your feedback and comments to James at jamesdebacco@gmail.com and Kim will print and forward him your messages, via snail-mail. You can also use the “Comments” feature bel0w.

When James prepared his own original parole plan, many of the inmates on his yard started asking him for help with writing theirs!  In the end, he was so swamped with individual requests for help that he ended up designing a series of 8 workshops, that became a 16 week program, supported by the warden, psychologists and counselors on D-Yard at Calipatria State Prison.

In late 2010, he repackaged his notes materials and handouts and came up with a 120 page textbook to accompany his workshops. The men he works with inside all get a photocopy of the book.  Now you can access his book, chapter by chapter!

Good luck with your parole plan writing.  You may have many rivers to cross, but Bridges to Freedom can show you the way over those troubled waters.  We hope these materials will help you prepare an honest, insightful account of your past, present and  future – which may be closer than you think!

Kim & James DeBacco.

Kim & James

Kim & James