On October 20th Sister Teresa and our new development director traveled to Sacramento to attend the monthly Parole Board hearing and several other meetings. It was a day filled with blessings.
She took the red eye at 6 a.m. from LAX. Upon arriving at the Parole Board, Philip, an ex-resident who now advocates for lifers was there with the wife of a man on the agenda. It’s inspiring that so many of our residents go on to benefit others. Two of the parole investigators who were at the meeting lit up like Christmas trees when they saw Sister Teresa as if their best friend had just arrived. She’s made such a difference with the parole investigators not only by providing a reliable and suitable home for parolees but in finding housing for the most difficult cases or when a man’s parole plans fall apart. They’ve learned they can depend on Sister Teresa and The Francisco Homes.
Later she visited the parole investigators’ new offices. Sister Teresa went office to office greeting the men and women she’d met in the past and putting a face to the voices and names of newer investigators. Their exuberance demonstrated an excellent working relationship and the fact that her hard work had a transformative effect on the people and systems necessary in the release of a growing number of men and women with life sentences. They were especially excited at the announcement of the newest “Francisco Home” for women. It’ll be the first of its kind in California.
During the Parole Board’s afternoon session Sister Teresa was given time to address the Board. During her few minutes she thanked the Commissioners for their hard and dedicated work. She thanked them for making sure our community remained safe while recognizing the truly rehabilitated and finding them suitable for parole. She let them know how honored and humbled she was to serve the residents at The Francisco Homes and thanked the Parole Board for being part of this gift.
Her trip also included meetings with administrators at CDCR’s rehabilitative services where they discussed current programs and potential changes that might aid in the rehabilitation of lifers. She visited several legislators at the State Capitol building and delivered a letter in support of one man’s parole to the Governor’s office. We took the last plane out at 8:30 p.m. It was quite a day.