Catherine Center a Pathway for Women

In 2003, Catherine's Center, a residential safe home, began with collaboration between the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County (SVdP) and the Sister's of Mercy.

Thanks to the vision of two women, Sr. Marguerite Buchanan & Sr. Suzanne Toolan, it became the first transition house in Northern California to serve women recently released from prison. Women received support for their practical needs and emotional and spiritual growth.

Catherine's Center works with St. Paul's restorative Justice Program for Adults and Juveniles.

SVdP's re-entry opportunities are also available through its adult ministry. Ex-offenders receive help in re-establishing their lives upon release by assisting with temporary housing costs, job training and placement. Many services are available at SVdP's three Homeless Help Centers.

Those on parole are informed of available services at bi-weekly Parole and Community Team (PACT) meetings. These services include o assistance with ID’s, clothing, food, shelter vouchering (if eligible), rental support, and employment options (if available).Those on probation receive similar services as for parolees.

For futher information call (650) 838-9800


People make mistakes. People rethink past choices. People change.

That is the driving force behind the Think Outside the Cell Foundation, founded by Sheila Rule, former journalist, and Joe Robinson, former inmate.

Think Outside the Cell is one of several books available through the foundation's bookstore.

Steve Ariotti, founder of Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship says, "with over two million men and women held in state and federal prisons (and millions more under some form of control or monitoring) this book could not have come at a better time."

The foundation believes that the power of storytelling is a well-proven vehicle for personal and social change. Toward that end, its Resilience MultiMedia press has a growing number of fiction and nonfiction book titles authored by the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.

The foundation has diverse programs that address restorative justice. For instance, The Civic-Duty Initiative (CDI) helps the incarcerated and the formerly incarcerated give back to low-income urban neighborhoods they once helped to tear down.

For more information call 877) 267-2303.

Why hasn't the War on Drugs Worked?

"Once and for all, it’s time we realize that the war on drugs is nothing more than a war on communities of color and on the poor,” Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, March 14, 2014."



California's Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom did not hold back in his powerful attack on the criminal justice system as he defended legalizing marijuana in a speech delivered at California's democratic convention held March 14.

He said that of 1.5 million people arrested in the U.S. on drug charges more than half of the charges were for using marijuana .

States wasted more than 3.6. million prosecuting marijuana users in 2010. The costs of needlessly harsh sentences for low level, non-violent crimes are high for taxpayers and higher still in terms of human costs.

These human costs include parole violations, the cost to students of lost educational opportunities, the separation of parents from their children, and costs to ravaged communities –.particularly communities of color. Lt. Gov. Newcom said these costs are all because people accept prosecution over education.

California's Lieutenant Governor emphasized that he is no fan of recreational drugs, but it is a given that there will never be a society free of drugs.

California has 25% of the global prison population, which shows that the state has done a lot that is wrong. He urged his audience to not accept the status quo because Califoria can do even more that is right.

Using the metaphor of desert flowers that lie underground until the time is right to bloom, he says California can act as a leader, and without the denigrating politics.

Ban the Box Brings More Fairness to Job Hunts

A new state law (AB 218—Asm. Dickinson) requires that by July 1, 2014, the State of California, as well as every city, county and special district in the state, have a “ban the box” policy in place so that questions about conviction history do not appear on the government’s initial job applications.

The new statute—(Section 432.9 in the Labor Code) ensures that job applicants are considered on their qualifications first. Inquiries into conviction histories must take place later in the hiring process.

All Of Us Or None and the National Employment Law Project have produced an informative guide on implementation of the new law.

The guide also includes a section on ban-the-box best practices which can help leverage local resources to expand economic opportunities in local communities.

According to Legal Services for Prisoners with Chidren (LSPC), now is the time to educate yourself to make sure that AB 218 is implemented at all levels.