The Inmate Clubs of OSCI
|About Inmate Clubs|
|New Horizons Club |
The Asian Club
Inipi Oyate Ki
The Solutions Club
Weusi Umoja Club
La Raza Unida Club
The mission of the clubs of OSCI is to create a pro-social environment in which inmates establish the skills necessary to correct their behavioral patterns and adopt new pro-social philosophies proven to turn lives around. This is done through supporting restorative justice efforts in the community and rewarding pro-social behavior within the institution in accordance with the Oregon Accountability Model.
School Supply Program
The School Supply Program is conducted by the Weusi Umoja Club who have made it their personal mission to ensure that children of incarcerated parents receive the assistance they need to succeed in school.
Many families with one of more parents incarcerated suffer financially. This often leads to a lower standard of living and contributes to the likelihood that children of incarcerated parents will themselves be incarcerated.
The School Supply Program is the first of many steps to help reverse this effect and ultimately break the cycle of incarceration.
Domestic Violence Seminar
The Inipi Oyate Ki Club conducts a domestic violence seminar facilitated by the Native American Youth Association and Red lodge. The seminar focused on the United Nations Basic Human Rights Act and the rights of women and children. Sharing this information they are able to educate men on how their choices affect their family.
Food Drive for the Oregon Food Bank
The Solutions Club Holds an annual food drive for the Oregon good Bank. Men from throughout the institution purchase food from the commissary and donate hundreds of dollars to help feed those in need.
Cranes for the Cure Project
The Solutions Club holds an annual fund raiser for the Race for the Cure Foundation. This foundation leads the effort to find a cure for breast cancer. To help in this effort the Solutions club and several volunteers from other clubs constructed a mobile and folded 100 origami cranes. Each sponsored crane had the sponsor’s name written on the crane.
The finished mobile is sent to the Cancer Ward of OHSU in Portland for display.
Holiday Visiting Room Events
Many children with incarcerated fathers suffer during the holidays due to many factors. Factors such as the absence of their father from the home, the financial impact due to a single parent income and the excuses children often come up with to explain the absence of their father.
A large number of children of incarcerated parents spend a majority of their holidays in prison visiting rooms around the state.
The Weusi Umoja, La Raza Unida and New Horizons clubs with the cooperation of the Administration of ASOI have made serious improvements to the quality of the holiday experience in the Visiting Room of OSCI.
Most notably are the Valentine’s Day, Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Halloween and Christmas programs during which the clubs decorate the Visiting Room as well as provide gifts and entertainment to the children and care givers of incarnated parents.
OCSI Club Event Recognition
OSCI Club Event Recognition (pdf)
|New Horizons |
In 1997, a group of long-term inmates started New Horizons to begin finding ways to improve the community inside the Oregon state Corrections Institution. Administrative approved the club as a way for to achieve proactive growth as a group of men.
New Horizons has reached into areas of service that were unseen at the club’s inception. As their sense of community grew, the scope of their ideas began to include people outside the institution.
Today, New Horizons is dedicated to building relationships through service to others. Their sense of community grows with every outreach project and our dedication to finding creative opportunities to serve gives them purpose and fulfillment.
New Horizons is comprised of 60 men serving lengthy sentences (over 20 years). Because their outreach includes OSCI’s general population, their force of membership includes anyone who is will to help others.
Community outreach projects have been a positive force for the goals of OSCI’s clubs. Members put a lot of time and energy into projects that address community needs, gaining satisfaction from knowing that they are contributing to the good of others. Some of their projects include:
Kids-to-Camp Gales Creek Fundraiser
The Gales Creek Camp for children with diabetes holds summer camp every year. The New Horizon club raises funds to help kids attend this great camp.
Building relationships and teaching disable inmates at OSCI through arts and crafts.
Family Building Blocks
Hosting an evening of food and entertainment for inmates to raise funds for Family Building Blocks.
New Horizons Garden
Produce is tended on ¾ of an acre and managed by members of New Horizons
Halloween Visiting Room
Bringing Elmo to OSCI to pass out Halloween bags full of candy and toys to kids.
Christmas Visiting Room
Giving Christmas presents to children who visit friends and family at OSCI.
|Asian Club |
|Inipi Oyate-Ki |
|Solutions Club |
|Weusi Umoja |
(Way oo’se Oo’moeja)
The mission of Weusi Umoja is to develop their members culturally, vocationally, and educationally through the facilities at this institution and elsewhere.
To enable member to prepare themselves to earn a living and become as asset to their communities.
To teach their members the history of Africa and African-American people, their contributions to the world and the United States of America, and the need for education that will enable them to guide their own destinies in this complex technological society.
Weusi Umoja hosts the “Back to School” program every year (August). Weusi Umoja gives schools supplies to the inmate’s children when they come to visit their loves ones. The kids can receive a list of things, including a back pack, pencils, paper, ruler, calculator, and other educational items.
Weusi Umoja also hosts a “Valentine’s Day” program. Inmates can purchase candy and send them to their loves ones or give them out when they receive a visit. The clubs also works with other clubs in some of their special events such as the annual food drive, Gales Creek Walkathon, and the Inmate Transition Fair.
Fundraising is a difficult, yet very rewarding aspect of the New Horizons club. The New Horizons club has come up with many creative ways of extending their support to people and organizations in need of help and is always working to find new opportunities to increase their efforts. In the past, the New Horizons club has raised over $8,000 for various community organizations:
- Kids-to-Camp fundraiser weekend to support Gales Creek Camp
- Bingo & Pizza Night o raise funds for Family Building Blocks
- Sales of stuffed animals to inmate to send to loved ones
- Sales of items crafted in the Hobby Shop
|La Raza Unida|
|La Raza Unida |
|About Family First ~ Helping Families Be Families |
Family First is a Department of Corrections’ family program at the Oregon State Correctional Institution that is dedicated to strengthening the relationship between children and their incarcerated fathers. This unique program is directed by the OSCI Administration.
Time and separation are real hardships for children whose fathers are incarcerated. Long gaps between visits seem longer to children with their sense of loss. Family First events are designed to help children and fathers build relationships while the father is incarcerated.
A Sportsmanship Event ~ July 2006
In July 2006, a Sportsmanship Event had families building pinewood derby cars to be raced as soon as the paint dried. The races made the evening go by particularly fast, but no so fast, that kids could not take hold of the fun they were having with their father. Sons and daughters were equally pleased with having a bit of competition mixed in with an activity with dad.
The kids took their cars home along with the memory of fun with dad. None of the children were happy to leave that evening, but they didn’t leave empty handed, each of them had a sense that there were better days to come.
Caregiver Appreciation Event ~ December 2007
On December 7, 2007, Family First held its annual Caregiver Appreciation Event in the OSCI visiting room. Fathers and their children worked together to show appreciation for the child’s caregiver by serving a meal and honoring them. A full meal was prepared and served so families could sit down and eat together as a family unit. This was an amazing event; for some children it was the first time they sat and ate a meal with their father.
This year dad made Christmas a part of the event. Family First purchased wooden ornaments that were decorated by the families after dinner. When the kids finished painting they hung the ornaments on the Christmas tree that was displayed throughout the Christmas season.
Toward the end of the evening each caregiver picked one of 17 shawls crocheted by Karen Bennet and her team. Santa also showed up at the event and gave each family a small bag of truffles.
Family First members continue to notice that many of the families are more comfortable in the visiting room and the children are showing a sense of ease among each other. Fathers have commented that their regular visits have shown the same sense of ease.
Number of families: 14
Number of children participant: 28
Scrapbooking Event ~ February 2008
On February 15, 2008, Family First hosted a scrapbooking event in the OSCI visiting room. Fathers and their children worked together to create family scrapbook pages for their ongoing scrapbooks. This is the second event where families worked on arts and crafts and spent quality time together.
The Scrapbooking Event provided an excellent opportunity for children and fathers to communicate in a relaxed setting outside the restrictions of normal visiting. Kids got to make a mess while creating a scrapbook page to take home and remind them of their father. Fathers practiced listening and understanding skills learned in Parenting Inside Out program.
After scrapbooking, the families were able to play board games, which provided further time for the families to bond and spend time together.
Number of Families: 12
Number of child participants: 22
A Charitable Night - Union Gospel Mission ~ April 2008
On April 18, 2008, Family First hosted a community service event in the OSCI visiting room where fathers and their children worked together to help others. The goal was to teach the kids the value of helping, giving and working in the community.
Family First partnered with the Union Gospel Mission (UGM) and made arrangements for the kids and fathers to work side-by-side putting together care bags. These bags were then handed out at the mission to people in need. Four different types of bags were assembled: men, women, mother and child.
At the event, the children painted a number of denim bags with colorful sayings and drawings. When they were finished, Donna Armstrong, the Outreach Coordinator for UGM, gave a presentation about UGM, its programs, and the importance of helping others. The kids learned about homeless people and the lives they live. After the discussion, the families worked together to fill the bags. In total 130 bags were made.
The final part of the evening was spent with the fathers working in a “Helpfulness Workbook” that they made prior to the event. Kids answered a number of questions about homelessness, helpfulness, charity, work, thinking about others and how they can help.
Number of families: 11
Number of child participants: 26
Sponsors: Private Individual Donations – Cash
Ross Dress for Less
OCE Prison Blues Garment Factory
The Wordshop (Mary Ann Radmacher)
Picnic Event ~ August 2008
On August 23, 2008, Family First hosed a Family picnic event outside the visiting room at OSCI. Fathers played with their children and spent time with their families in a variety of activities. This was Family First’s send outside event.
After a picnic of hamburgers, hotdogs and lots of fresh fruit all the families participated in a variety of races and activities including the Egg-In-Spoon Race, Three-legged Race, Bunny Hop Race, Ping Pong Ball Toss and Volleyball.
This event is a favorite among the families who enjoy Family First. To see the kids playing outside with their dads and benefiting from these activities is why Family First is so important.
|Crocheting for the Community|
|The last place you would expect a thriving crochet program to be is in a medium security prison. Yet, at Oregon State Correctional Institution such a program exists. The crochet program was designed as a service project for incarcerated men to give back to the community. . |
The class started out with fifteen men who didn't know the difference between a skein of yarn and a roll of toilet paper but has grown into a class of more than 20 men and a waiting list.
The men start out learning basic stitches and apply them in 7" x 9" blocks which are sewn into afghans and donated to the charity, Warm-Up America or some other charity which includes:
- Baby hats to the Capitol Project;
- Infant hats and booties to the Christ the Child program;
- Preemie blankets to local hospitals;
- Afghans to the Shriners;
- Chemo caps for cancer survivors;
- Scarves and bear carriers to the OSCI Parenting Program; and
- Crochet snowflakes that that are given out to children in the OSCI visiting room during the holidays
The Crochet Program is an example of the success that can be achieved with a common sense idea and inspirited volunteers. Inmates learn new life skills and are allowed to practice pro-social behaviors.
Recidivism is reduced one stitch at a time and everyone wins.
|Basic Adult Living And Negating Conflict Education (BALANCE)|
|Balance is built on a foundation of: |
- Communication & Peer Relations
- Effective Problem Solving
- Peer Pressure Prevention
- Adult Social Skills
- Responsibility Skills
- Personal Values
- Thinking Error Recognition
- Drug and Alcohol Abuse
- Family Values
The BALANCE program is a once a month program with the Oregon State prison system, designed to educate and empower adults to positive living and conflict resolutions skills.
This class is assembled once a month and focused on working with individuals that are labeled as gang affiliated and/or considered a security threat by the institution and law enforcement.
Reputable inmates & counselors from the community facilitate the class. They provide an edge because they have lived and prevailed through the issues this class addresses.
The inmates and counselors will apply their personal experiences and inner city struggles to help others in making a change.
BALANCE aims to make a serious effort in stemming the increasing rate of conflict, violence, incarceration, drug abuse, and family neglect6 that exists among youth and adult offenders.
It is believed that by and through this program, these individuals can and will make better choices. To assist in this process, we provide opportunities in the form of programs and activities that are of a positive nature.
BALANCE also works with other clubs within the Oregon state prison system. These clubs host various workshops and educational programs as listed below:
- Job placement after release
- GED Preparation
- Law and Politics
- Spiritual Awareness & Motivation
- How to Operate a Small Business
- Victim-Offender Mediation Training
- US economy & Stock Market
- College Enrollment Preparation
Transitions Fair Spring 2011 |
OSCI’s Spring 2011 Transitions Fair began where the Spring 2010 Fair ended and continued beyond. With over 150 resource/service providers, this was the biggest fair yet. Resource providers included city, county, state, and federal agencies. Additionally, there were resource and service providers for various trade schools (tattoo, flagging, etc.) as well as organizations that assist with substance abuse issues. Just about any organization an inmate might need to be successful in his reentry into society was present, religious, governmental, as well as private.
The success of OSCI’s fair continues as society as a whole realizes that the majority (90 percent plus) of the individuals incarcerated will be released. Over 400 inmates participated.
Derek Robertson of Lane County Sponsors (a transitions housing organization) emotionally expressed his gratitude during a lunchtime talk to the resource/service providers. Mr. Robertson went through the fair just four years ago as an inmate and is now a successful member of society who is assisting other inmates going through the transitional process.
During the Spring Transition Fair a $1,000 check was presented to the Oregon National Guard 82nd Brigade for the families of deployed troops by V-TAP (Veterans-Transitions Assistance Program). Donated funds were raised by V-TAP through monthly fundraisers which included selling Pop Tarts and cereal to the general inmate population.
Additionally a raffle was held for the resource/service provide with items donated by the Crochet Program he 7th Step which included four Earth Day afghans a handmade jewelry box
Every financial feature of OSCI’s Spring 2011 Transitions Fair was provided through inmate fundraisers sponsored by inmate programs. Without their help, the Transitions fair would not be possible.
|Inmate Michael Collin presenting a $1,000 check to Brian Dean of the Oregon National Guard's 82nd Brigade.|