In 1999 California’s three strikes law was placing non-violent drug offenders into lifetime sentences by record amounts. A position paper was written, “Convict Clinicians”, where it was maintained that long-term offenders should be given a chance to become certified substance abuse counselors. With this position Ted Gray, Eugene Dey and later with the assistance of other teammates developed a program from within the prison to explore this possibility. This program has now become known as Inside Solutions.
CROP was created through the compassion and concern of its founding Director, Mitch Gray to support the efforts of Inside Solutions and promote change within the prison system. While visiting his son, Mr. Gray became aware of the lack of sufficient support programs and equipment that could benefit the fledgling Inside Solutions program being created by the inmates. Rather than simply complain about the conditions, many of which are due to budget constraints, resources were made available to purchase and support the acquisition of computers, sports and music equipment to two of CDCR’s northern facilities. Mr. Gray soon realized that much more needed to be done to improve opportunities for rehabilitation and post-release reentry efforts for all California inmates.
In 2008, CROP engaged the Warden at CDCR’s California Correctional Center (CCC) in Susanville, California, to discuss the possibility of creating a pilot project that could demonstrate how improvements could be obtained through a public-private partnership. CROP also consulted with CDCR’s then Assistant Secretary for Policy, Analysis, and Planning, Michael Carrington, who had written major policy reforms for rehabilitation and reentry and who had served as a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s Rehabilitation Strike Team. These conversations led to the development and implementation of the Inside Solutions pilot project that began at CCC in the fall of 2009.
CROP then spread to the Correctional Training Facility (CTF). From 2010 until 2018 CROP continues to support the efforts of the Inside Solution programs. After producing dozens of graduates in CTF, CROP began actively working with CDCR officials to discuss the various possibilities for the expansion of this program and partnership on a statewide basis. As major reforms have resulted in a steady stream of Inside Solutions graduates being released, CROP has shifted it’s focus to job placement and reentry needs.