top of page

Project WHAT!


As part of our annual workshops, Project WHAT! comes into San Quentin to present the perspectives of children who have grown up with an incarcerated parent. In addition, they provide employment and training to youth in the areas of advocacy and policy change at the state and local levels.


Wyatt McMillian​, T.R.U.S.T. Fellow

"Project WHAT! is a profoundly insightful program.​ Project WHAT! is a program that gives a voice to the children of incarcerated parents. I found the program to be profoundly insightful because I am an incarcerated parent. Listening to the young team members helped me understand what my daughters felt and experienced because of my incarceration."

Essie Justice Group

San Quentin T.R.U.S.T. brought the Essie Justice Group to San Quentin in 2015. Essie Justice Group is an organization which provides support to the mothers and wives or other significant women of incarcerated men. It seeks to meet the various needs of these women as they deal with the unique personal and family situations they are facing.


Women are nominated to the program by the men who are in prison.  The Fellows of T.R.U.S.T. have promoted this program throughout San Quentin for the benefit of the men and their loved ones. This group serves many prisons throughout California.

Essie Justice Project Participant Responses

Nominator:  Orlando Harris, T.R.U.S.T. Fellow

"What Essie Project means to me, having had the opportunity to nominate someone for the program, is something I would never have dreamed of. Being incarcerated for over three decades and having my Mom as my biggest supporter, I have always wanted to show her how much I love her and thank her for supporting me emotionally, financially, and spiritually.

Essie Project has given me the opportunity to express how grateful and thankful I am for her support. It has also made a way for me to offer my Mom some support. Many women have incarcerated loved ones, and for a lot of them, there is no support. However, with Essie Project they have built a network of support with women facing these same challenges. I am so thankful for Essie Project because I know that my mother is not alone anymore. She has some sisters that share her same experiences, and they are there for her when she may be struggling with issues or challenges around having a loved one incarcerated. The Essie Project gives me the assurance that my Mom is not alone, and she has women she can depend on to be supportive in her time of need!"

A statement from my Mom about Essie Project:

Ms. Evelyn L. Smith

"When I received a call from the Essie Project, I didn't know what they were about or who they were. But after they read the letter from my son about appreciation and acknowledging the support I have provided since his incarceration, I was truly amazed at the women who seek out women who have loved ones who are incarcerated to support them. I am blown away by this act of human kindness. Although my age restricts me from being able to participate in a lot of activities with Essie, I want to thank these women for their generosity, love, support, and never- ending commitment to helping women. Essie has been a gift and a Godsend, and I will be forever grateful for their support. Thank you Essie Project."

bottom of page