NBA 2K23 Tournament at Two Rivers

Paradigm Shift Club members and tournament participants

The latest installment of the Paradigm Shift Clubs’ (PSC) PS4 video game tournament featured NBA 2K23. In an isolated prison environment where housing units individually provide entertainment and activities, the video game tournament is a place for AICs to socialize and compete with a broader audience.

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The Wall of Inspiration

Brandon Burge

The concept was born from Brandon Burge, a Paradigm Shift Club (PSC) member who has been corresponding with celebrities and pop culture icons during his prison sentence, requesting photos, words of inspiration, and signed memorabilia. Surprisingly, Brandon has received immense support and positive feedback as his collection includes magicians, sports stars, actors, and comedians to name a few.

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Tri-Cities Cancer Center Visits the Paradigm Shift Club at Two Rivers Correctional Institution

Representatives of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center gathered with the Paradigm Shift Club members

Two members of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center visited the Paradigm Shift Club at Two Rivers Correctional Institution to receive their long-awaited check from the Breast Cancer awareness fundraisers.

The adults in custody (AIC) donated $3,834.35 to support the Cancer Center’s future operations. The members of the Tri-Cities Cancer Center were enthusiastic about visiting a prison for the first time and eager to learn about the Paradigm Shift Club, how fundraisers were facilitated, and information about the nuances of prison.

A few members of the Paradigm Shift Club shared their personal story as well as how important impacting the outside community is for those incarcerated. The guests showed immense gratitude and empathy toward the group’s endeavors and were surprised that those incarcerated were willing to donate their funds for the greater good.

The guests spoke about the Cancer Center in detail, which included an overview of departments, potential fundraising opportunities, and relevant information related to men incarcerated. The Paradigm Shift Club enjoys meeting with donation recipients to help spread awareness and build transparency, not only among the AIC community, but the outside community as well.

Puppies! Puppies! Puppies!

The Joys of Living Assistance Dogs program is going strong at South Fork Forest Camp

Last year, South Fork Forest Camp (SFFC) partnered with the Joys of Living Assistance Dogs (JLAD), a non-profit organization dedicated to training and raising service dogs to support and assist persons living with disabilities. The adults in custody (AICs) train them, and then the dogs are placed with individuals that need them. Below are testimonials from AICs talking about how the program has impacted their lives.

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Jacobe’s GED

Oregon State Penitentiary celebrates their Behavioral Health Unit’s first GED graduate – Jacobe Owens!

“My name’s Jacobe. I’m 26 and I finally got my GED. Now, I’ve been through a lot regarding this COVID and having to be patient to finish my GED. I finally got it and I really appreciate DOC continuing to be consistent with helping me achieve the GED. I also want to say that no matter what obstacles were in my way, I rose to the top and achieved this. And just because the DOC members and everybody that consistently chose to help get me through this, I will not stop here. I will continue to get my education, going to community college now that I’ve got two free years of college.”

“To all the DOC staff, I thank you.”

Jacobe Owens

On the Edge of Your Seat

Powder River Correctional Facility’s First Chess Tournament

Ms. Geddes makes the honorary opening move in the Championship game with AIC Cara vs. AIC Scalera

The first of hopefully many chess tournaments to be hosted for our AICs, concluded Saturday! AIC Cara took the top seat, beating out AIC Scalera in the championship game.

The tournament brought 13 participants together in the double elimination contest. Players had 15 minutes on their game clocks and would receive a 2 second bonus for each move. In total 32 games were played to complete the bracket.

To start things off one contestant would hold a pawn of each color, one in each hand. While his opponent would pick a hand to determine which pieces each would play for their game.

AIC Scalera finished in second place. AIC Scalera had faced off against AIC Cara in the semi-finals, losing a very competitive game, but won out to face him again in the finals.

AIC Peterson calculates his next move

AIC Peterson came in 3rd place, having fought back from an early loss in the opening rounds Friday. He started out Saturday with quick impressive wins over AIC Yaw and AIC Jackson.

PRCF started its chess club back in October named “en Passant,” a French expression meaning “in passing,” and is a unique rule in chess. The name was chosen as we recognize these AICs are “in passing” through PRCF.

The club goal is to take concepts in the game, such as, thinking of consequences before you move, and applying that in their own lives. We look forward to hosting the next tournament hopefully in July.

A Toast to the Toastmasters

There is no debate, Theron Hall, cherishes the Toastmasters Club at the Oregon State Penitentiary

The President of the Capital Toastmasters Club tells his story…

Theron Hall, President, Capital Toastmasters

“For twenty plus years, the Oregon State Penitentiary has had support from local colleges and universities, and we have been competing in debates with them. Our goal was to greatly improve our debate program and with the support of our prison administration, College Professors, and our members, we have done just that. In 2009, Professors from Willamette University, Linfield College, and Northwest Christian University began volunteering their time to teach a Parliamentary style debate class to our members. At that point, our debate program began to flourish. In addition to our monthly meetings, cognitive classes, and speech contests, we now hold three debates a year with local colleges and universities and one debate tournament a year.

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An Artist’s Evolution

I met Timothy Lee Simpkins in 2015, awaiting my own sentencing in county. At the time, we were both were going through an intense period of uncertainty about the future. We connected over the serious amount of time we were both going to be doing, and we ended up serving our time in the same institution, Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution. I’ve remained loosely connected to Lee over the years and have witnessed a transformation in him that is profound. Recently, I asked Lee to tell me about his experience.

Lee started his journey with visual art in 2015 when he realized his dream of becoming a musician was going to be put on hold for about ten years. Prior to his incarceration, Lee wrote, recorded and performed music. Spoken word and rap were how he expressed himself. “The first time I performed I was 15 in Berkeley California. I performed at a Cal State open-mic rap concert. I was so nervous getting up there on that stage, but after that first time, I was cool. I found out that the performance space was my natural habitat,” Lee said. He performed a few more times in Portland and Battleground Washington before being incarcerated.

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One Heart Transplant Done, What’s Next?

Enrichment Club Donation Recipient Receives Heart Transplant, Club Plans for Future Donations

A rare circumstance occurs when adults in custody (AIC) can so positively affect a community. The Eastern Oregon Correctional Institution’s Enrichment Club donation to the Children Oregon Transplant Association was one such rarity – an opportunity to raise funds for a local Pendleton student who required a life-saving heart transplant. High school student Miranda Case was born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome. Now, after multiple heart surgeries and as a high school student with aspirations for college, she needed a complete heart transplant.

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Malachi Dads

Coached only by men, for men, Malachi Dads, is a faith-based program, at the Oregon State Correctional Institution, that offers life lessons for better living and better parenting. Written and developed first by adults in custody (AIC) of Angola State Prison in Louisiana, Malachi Dads is a community of men that help each other recognize their role as spiritual leaders of their families. As men participate in this program, they sense a genuine restoration and transformation, and live up to their understanding of biblical responsibilities as a father.

Below, six graduates graciously share their personal stories about how the program changed their lives.

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