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Project L.A. / Bay Area

Project L.A. 2018 Graduates

The mission of Project L.A. / Bay Area is to provide practical resources to assist men returning to society upon release from San Quentin.

Project L.A. / Bay Area is a nine month re-entry program. When inmates are released from prison, they face challenges integrating back into society. Project L.A. / Bay Area provides these men with the practical resources which play a critical role in their success.


Some of the classes and workshops featured are: adapting to change, criminal thinking, strategies to avoid returning to prison, credit repair, resume writing, entrepreneurship, and transitional housing. The men benefit from outside guest speakers as well as prisoner facilitators who provide lectures and workshops each week.  

Project L.A. / Bay Area is the only program currently in the Q serving the men of the L.A. community.

History of Project L.A. / Bay Area:

Helaine Melnitzer, Chief Sponsor, Project L.A.

Project L.A. was developed collaboratively between two former inmates, Chapple Sims* and Joe Paul*, Vocational Services Administrator for Shields for Families. I joined Project L.A. in 2013 as a relatively new volunteer to San Quentin T.R.U.S.T. It was Chapple, our first chairman, and Project L.A.'s secretary, Earlonne Woods*, co-founder of the San Quentin podcast, Ear Hustle who took the reins and rustled up a few dozen men to attend the classes. Then, Mike Thompson* took over as chairman. Under his leadership, the program grew from a few students to a nine month program which graduates 30-40 men per session. 

Robb Rogers*, (now released) was our chairman. He had been with Project L.A. since its inception, and I have relied heavily on his knowledge and expertise. Through this experience, I have enriched my understanding of the challenges awaiting released felons and my knowledge of the programs and opportunities available to them in Los Angeles County.


Earlonne Woods*, former Fellow, Co-Founder of Ear Hustle

"I am the co-founder of Project L.A. and since its inception, I've witnessed guys speak highly of its success...Project L.A. gives individuals the space to restore dignity and rehumanizes one's experience as one merges back into the community."

Mike Thompson*, former Fellow and former Chairman of Project L.A.

"At Project L.A., with the help of Joe Paul and Helaine Melnitzer, we strive to deliver immediate and lasting change in our participants' lives by preparing the men to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling a new value system." 

* now released

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