After some years of AVP at San Quentin prison the facilitating team (both inmates and street people) realized that we wanted to have a special workshop just for facilitators. So we planned for it and got it all set up and arrived at the venue eager to go.
As we got started the “outside coordinator” (the person who organizes workshops from outside the prison in conjunction with both inmate facilitators and prison officials) told us that the Warden, Art Calderon, had expressed to her that he would like to see and take part in a workshop himself. She replied that because he said he needed three weeks prior notice and that we never knew who the participants were going to be before it started that we wouldn’t be able to make that three week notice come to pass: our confidentiality policy would require the permission of every participant to have a non-AVP person like the Warden be there.
So she asked us, “Shall I call Warden Calderon and ask if he could come to this workshop?” The answer was a resounding “YES!” Off to the phone and in two minutes back with the response: “He’ll be here tomorrow at ten --for one hour.”
Warden Calderon came, by himself, exactly on time. He stayed for the whole time he had promised. He participated fully in each exercise. It gave the inmates a new view of the Warden, and it gave Warden Calderon some direct experience with AVP. It was an immensely rich experience for everyone in the room. Talk about win-win situations!