On his second appearance before a parole board, Jose Segura was given a release date. He attributes this success to being able to express himself clearly through what he learned in the Spanish Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG).
VOEG is a program that puts offenders and victims of crime in dialogue so they can discuss the impact of crime on families and communities.
“When I committed my crime, I had a belief system called machismo. This belief system taught me to have a big ego, be tough, never ask for help or let another man push you around,” Segura said. “VOEG helped me see and transform the rage inside of me. I learned that asking for help or expressing my emotions is acceptable. It’s not something that makes me weak.”
Lucia De La Fuente impacted the lives of 10 Spanish-speaking San Quentin prisoners with her skills as a counselor and teacher.
“She taught me how to deal with my traumas. I can own up to my crime and hold myself accountable for it,” said Manuel Murillo, one of her students.
De La Fuente is one of three volunteers that recently launched Victim-Offender Education Group (VOEG) for Spanish-speaking prisoners.
“It’s the other Spanish facilitators like her that are essential and important to help me express my feelings and emotions. It’s not only a change for me; it’s a change for everyone in the group. Now I have more confidence,” Murillo added.
VOEG is a self-help program inside San Quentin that adopts restorative justice practices to find healing for both offenders and survivors.
“This program is about forgiveness and accountability. They go together,” said De La Fuente. “It’s about being accountable for the harm and forgiveness and it is about being accountable for the good they’ve done. Everyone has a different process for forgiveness.