The Pedal Project

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Michael Herron, a 31 year old former prison inmate and drug peddler is now peddling his way to work in San Diego, California.

This is made possible by Pedal Project, a program that donates refurbished bikes to ex-offenders as a means of transportation. Before Herron had a bike he was taking the bus or bumming rides from friends because he couldn’t afford a car or a $72 monthly bus pass.

Several ex-cons and people who help former prisoners re-enter society related that not having reliable transportation makes it difficult for ex-offenders to have a way to gPhoto courtesy businessinsider.comet to job interviews and workplaces.

When Steve Shia, a retired corrections officer and teacher commuted to Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility, he experienced a need prisoners have when they are released. Shia taught secondary education and helped young offenders prepare for college at the San Diego-based correctional facility. His commute required him to bicycle from the border trolley to his job. Shia also noticed that his car repair expenses were cutting into his salary. The situation made him aware that when prisoners are released from prison they usually don’t’ own a vehicle to dependably get them to work or even provide transpiration to look for a job. Shia was motivated to create a solution for released inmates to have a means of transportation when they enter the work force.

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Scholarship Winner Not Afraid To Try Anything

By Dianne Frazee-Walker

Charles Wilson / Photo courtesy Dianne Frazee-Walker

On a nippy spring morning in April, I arrived at Trinidad State Junior College in Alamosa, Colorado, a little shy of 8:00am. The cosmetology students were anxiously awaiting my arrival. The purpose of my visit was to demonstrate Tammy Taylor’s famous 12-step process for doing a full set of acrylic nails in one hour or less.

Tammy Taylor is a real person who owns an international nail supply company based in Santa Ana, California. Taylor started her career as a nail technician and today she holds the Guinness Book of World records for the fastest set of acrylic nails; she can do a full set of nails in 20 minutes. 

I am a part-time independent educator for Tammy Taylor nails and a free-lance blogger for The day I returned to the cosmetology department at Trinidad Junior College I wasn’t expecting to tie my nail educator job with blogging about prison education.

When I walked into the room a familiar looking face lit up and said “Hi Tammy Taylor, whoops, I mean Dianne.” I responded to the student by saying, “I remember you as the only student who was old enough to know who Jimmy Buffet was the last time I was here.”

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California New Start Prison Program

After spending time in prison, ex-offenders can often find it difficult to find employment. Social, personal and vocational skills need to be re-learned and applied to life outside of prisons. 

The California New Start Prison Program is a statewide program designed to help inmates and parolees become involved in a network of of employment possibilites. this program is not mandatory for prisoners – it is a voluntary program that your counselor can prepare you for as you near your release date. 

Numerous statistical studies demonstrate that a parolee who finds and maintains a steady job – and who also has stable housing and avoids substance abuse – is more likely to avoid subsequent offenses and to successfully complete his term on parole.

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