Bridges to Freedom: What I came away with
Jose L. Marquez, Calipatria State Prison (September 28, 2011). — Jose was a participant in one of the D-yard “Bridges” workshops facilitated by James DeBacco.
I came into the Bridges to Freedom program primarily because I wanted to help others understand the material in the course based on my personal experience in having attended, and been denied parole, at ten BPH hearings. I wanted others to be better prepared for the hearing process that I had been. My role as a co-facilitator allowed me to do that to some extent. After every hearing I attended I gained some insight into what I was lacking in my preparation and, had this course been available, with the amount of information it provides, it would have helped me immensely.
However, the most important aspects of this program in my opinion are:
- Being able to participate in a group where every participant is genuinely devoted towards demonstrating they can safely be released, and
- It’s enabled me to vocalize and express the depths of my remorse and insight and empathize with the weight of responsibility the BPH members are entrusted with in rendering their decisions. I came away better informed and better equipped to articulate why I feel I’m suitable for parole.
Update: November 15, 2012
Jose writes: I was found suitable for parole on September 11th, 2012. Whatever you do, don’t give up hope, be discouraged, or lose perspective. After nearly 34 years, and my eleventh hearing, I have been rewarded for being able to show that I can safely be released, and for preparing sufficiently to be successful once released. I recommend that those of you who are serious about regaining your freedom take advantage of every self-improvement course available and include the Bridges to Freedom course in your preparation.