Do you or someone you know have a felony conviction? Has it prevented you from employment and or housing? Pasadena Black Pages spoke with Chris Finney about how to get your conviction reduced and expunged. On Thursday, March 9th from 6 - 8pm at the Flintridge Center, there will be a Record Change Clinic.Chris, admittedly was once about that life. There was a myriad of confluences that set him on a path that led to incarceration and destruction in the community. But, there is something to be said about redemption and rehabilitation, both of which he continues seeking and is doing. We all have a past, and that's exactly where we'll leave his – in the past. Gauging from his enthusiasm about this current chapter of his life, he is just the right person and is purposed for the pivotal role he plays as the Outreach & Case Manager with the Flintridge Center’s
Born and raised in Pasadena, Chris feels deeply connected to the Altadena and Pasadena community. After going through some trouble as a youth and then incarceration, Chris decided to make positive changes by seeking employment and furthering his education after his release.
Through work with various community-based organizations, Chris discovered his passion for working with community members in high-risk, high-need circumstances.
Chris was connected to Flintridge Center after attending a Vision 20/20 training about the history of Northwest Pasadena and the best practices to engage with and assist community members in high-risk, high-need circumstances. Certified in Case Management from U.C. Davis, Chris engages with formerly incarcerated, ex-gang affiliated, and currently incarcerated community members to inform them about the opportunities at Flintridge Center and other services to help them transition back into our community.
With the passing of AB 47, thousands of incarcerated men and woman are returning home. Some after decades behind the walls where little to nothing has been done to prepare them for reentry back into society. That's where Flintridge Center’s Reintegration Program & Services stands in the gap and he is the brother that many coming home turn to for guidance and a support system.
I sat with a former program participant who spoke with me on the condition of anonymity about why the program worked for him. He explained to maintain in prison you have to Program.' Programming means finding a routine and doing your time, not letting your time, do you? He said his younger days in the 'pen' were spent wiling out. After 19 years on drug possession with the intent to sell case and all the frustration and anger for feeling he was overcharged and sentenced, he began to realize if he got another 215 and loss more time, he was on his way to being stretched out. While in a GED class, he learned of his pending parole release date. Joy would turn to anxiety quickly. Lots of things have changed in the nearly two decades since he was railroaded and where housed courtesy of the Taxpayers of California. A family friend told him about the center’s reentry program. He enrolled and is proudly among the 89% that have not re-offended and contributing to the community.
More than 500 people went through the program last year and Flintridge recorded an 11 percent recidivism rate among those who completed the program. The state puts recidivism in California at about 65 percent in the first two years. When they first come into the program Chris is their case manager. Who better to have helped those adjust than someone had himself done the same thing. “I used to beat myself up about my past…” Chris shared with me. Adding “…change is never easy, but I committed myself to it and encourage them they can do it too.”