CR Inside Newsletter

The blog for CR Inside. Much talk about all things CR Inside...

Principle 8 In Action!

By James D'Amato
CR Inside SW Team Lead

In December 2016, Valley Baptist Celebrate Recovery, in Partnership with Prison Fellowship Angel Tree, invited all of the families located in Kern County, CA that were receiving gifts from the Angel Tree program to a Christmas Celebration. This event started from a meeting with Janice Little, Prison Fellowship Area Director and James D’Amato, CR Inside SW Regional Team Lead and his wife Debbie D’Amato, who are both Ministry Leader’s for CR at Valley Baptist located in Bakersfield, California.

Prison Fellowship stated that they did not have enough church’s available to distribute all of the gifts in the Kern County area. So James contacted all of the area CR’s and organized an event on Valley Baptist’s regular CR night. We ended up getting seven local CR’s involved in helping out. We had over 80 families attend with over 225 total in attendance.

We held it on our regular CR night which helped us, not only to distribute the gifts, but to expose the families to what CR and CR Inside is and how it can help the families of the incarcerated. Each family got to see how CR and CR Inside works, which included exposure to Celebration Place and the Landing. It was a time for CR and the Church to show them the love of Christ, which some haven’t felt in a long time.

We ran it just like our regular CR with a Christmas Dinner fellowship time, worship time, CR Inside video, and the other tools that we use each week at CR. At the end of the night, we distributed the gifts provided by various churches in the area to all for the families in attendance. The kids got to see a Holiday movie, do some face-painting and received small gifts that were donated by local churches.

It was a blessing to see all of the CR’s attend and the volunteer’s help in every area of the event. But it did not stop there. There were about 50 families that could not attend and so the CR’s that joined to help took the gifts for the families that were in their area of their CR, and distributed the gifts to the families home where they prayed, ministered and invited the families to come to their local CR and Church.

It was an exciting and memorable evening that affected the hearts of all those in attendance and all of the volunteers. It was also an opportunity for CR, CR Inside, Prison Fellowship, and the Church to work together for one cause – it was looking at Principle 8 and Step 12 in action!

New CRI Program Coming To B-Facility

Below is a letter from Joe Stewart, Correctional Captain, B-Facility at California State Prison-Sacramento ( a Level IV Maximum Security facility) to his Lieutenants on his belief in the CR Inside program and it’s proven ability to change lives at SCC and Folsom State Prison in California, and his plan to add the CR Inside program to the faith based opportunities at California State Prison – Sacramento.

From: "Stewart, Joe@CDCR"
Date: April 8, 2016 at 10:06:30 AM PDT
Subject: New CRI Program Coming To B-Facility


Great Story in the OPEC newsletter today, (link below).

Definitely part of my motivation for the Celebrate Recovery Inside (CRI) Program, and it’s power to change lives.

This program has been operating at SCC and next door at FSP for several years now...

It has won numerous awards like the one below from the State Legislature in 2014 for its success in greatly reducing recidivism.

Currently FSP’s program has a 100% success rate with none of the released participants returning to custody...


After meeting a gentleman named Terry a few weeks ago, and hearing his story of serving 27 years in Ca. Prisons as a Life-Term Offender, Terry was incarcerated for a homicide he committed as a youth, and never thought he would ever be released. CRI changed his life at SCC and FSP and helped him begin motivating and encouraging other inmates to change their lives. After being released from FSP a few years ago, he is now a volunteer and mentor of the CRI program continuing to invest in other people.

I’m honored to announce that Capt. Riley and I are working with a local CRI program in El Dorado Co., along with Therese our CRM, to bring a CRI program to B-Facility.

Of course Terry will not be able to physically participate at this point, but Mike and Mavis Mante are the coordinators of the program and will be leading the weekly meetings.

I can only imagine there will be a similar story about Terry’s life and this CRI program at CSP-SAC to share in the newsletter someday.

This program will be held in the evenings (likely Mon. or Tue.) and more information regarding the specific times and locations will be forth coming.

This program has an evidence based approach to changing the environment of a correctional facility, giving inmates an alternate perspective to violence.

Most of our Life-Term offenders have to participate in a Substance Abuse Program (SAP), like this in order to be considered for release during their BPT hearings.

I know many people believe this type of impact and success cannot be achieved at a Level IV, Maximum Security Prison, but we disagree with that theory...

I know you and your staff will all provide the CRI Volunteers with all of the support they need to facilitate these weekly meetings.

Have a great weekend everyone...

Joe Stewart

Correctional Captain, B-Facility 

California State Prison-Sacramento