STOCKTON — Upon his release from prison in 2012, Robert Mosqueda was apprehensive about participating in a program provided by the Stockton Day Reporting Center to help him transition back into society.
Mosqueda had just served three years in the state prison system, and on Wednesday said he had just wanted to go back to his life.
“I did everything I could to get them to kick me out (of the program),” he said. “Once I realized they weren’t going to give up on me, I invested in the program. I started understanding the fundamentals of things I didn’t think I would.”
Mosqueda completed the six-month program later that year, then enrolled at San Joaquin Delta College, attaining a degree in behavioral science. From there he enrolled at University of the Pacific, graduating with a bachelor’s degree in sociology.
He is now an outreach worker with the city of Stockton’s Office of Violence Prevention, and is currently working on a master’s degree at the University of Southern California.
Now 41, he said his life has changed for the better, thanks in part to the Stockton Day Reporting Center, which on Wednesday celebrated 10 years of helping parolees transition back into the community.
The center held an open house at its office at 1003 W. Mathews Road, featuring staff presentations about the services provided to help parolees return to the community at large.
Those services include helping with job searches, enrolling in classes, obtaining transit passes and information, and computer and cellphone training, among others, provided by a staff of eight.
According to GEO Reentry Services, which oversees the center, nearly 60 percent of program participants are employed when they “graduate.”
Gloria Alcantara, the center’s program manager, said about 500 parolees have graduated from the Stockton location, with about 20 individuals graduating every six months.
Alcantara said the center’s goal is to rehabilitate the county’s offender population — many of whom have been in jail or prison so long that they are not familiar with cellphones, emails, or even computers — back into the community
She said the center opened in 2008 when the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation found that its growing offender population would benefit from re-entry programs.
“It’s very exciting,” she said. “One thing I’m most honored by and proud of is helping this population for the last 10 years. I’m looking forward to doing this for many years to come.”
Although he graduated from the program six years ago, Mosqueda said he still comes back to the center to speak with Alcantara and other staffers, seeking advice about clients he now serves, or to just vent about the stresses of everyday life.
He said the center and its program helped him overcome anger and empathy issues, as well as helped him realize he loves to give back to people.
“Everything is great,” he said. “Challenges come and go. That’s part of life, but it’s because of these challenges that have allowed me to become who I am and who I was meant to be.”
Contact reporter Wes Bowers at (209) 546-8258, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @WesBo26.