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Dear Governor Brown,

We, the men of the Progressive Programming Facility at the California State Prison – Los Angeles County, ask that you consider us in your decisions on who might be released from prison. 

The Progressive Programming Facility is a voluntary program that requires of prisoners a commitment to growth and rehabilitation, participation in programs designed to break the negative cycle of recidivism, and an acceptance of personal responsibility.  The program has been in existence now for more than 13 years, and during all that time we’ve been working to create something better out of the dysfunction of the prison system. 

We were around before the word “rehabilitation” was resurrected and reattached to the name of the prison system, and we are pleased to learn that the leadership of the system is planning to model its ideas of what a programming facility should look like on what we’ve built here on the Progressive Programming Facility.  It’s a powerful validation of what we’ve worked together to accomplish. 

We are, nonetheless, dismayed by the characterization that there are no prisoners left in the system that could be safely released to bring down the population of the prisons.  That’s not accurate, and it is unfair.  The truth is there are many men and women who have served far past their eligibility dates, who have worked very hard to reform themselves, who have grown up and matured into better people, and who would not pose an unreasonable threat to society if they were released. 

While not all of these lower risk prisoners are housed on the Progressive Programming Facility, many of them are and you should consider them.  In the coming years, as the prison population drops, we believe there will be opportunities to rethink the very nature of incarceration in California.  Holding people in prison for life on account of nonviolent crimes is simply irrational.  Holding people in prison for life for crimes committed as young people is irrational.  Holding people in prison until they’re senior citizens is irrational.  We appeal to you to exercise your rational judgment.  We appeal to you to lead this state out of its irrational reliance on imprisonment as the first and only response to misdeeds.

The men of the Progressive Programming Facility are committed to pursuing a path toward rehabilitation and reform.  This will continue as long as it’s possible.  We urge you to remember this group of men when the time comes for decisions as to who goes and who stays.  

Thank you, in advance, for your consideration. 

The men of the Progressive Programming Facility

The Friends and Families for the Honor Program highly recommend the following sites:


As you all know, after an intense lobbying effort led by The Steering Committee for the Honor Program and the Friends and Families for the Honor Program that included thousands of letters, emails, and numerous other contacts, as well as an online petition and strong, behind-the-scenes support from elected officials and other persons of influence, the Progressive Programming Facility is now a Level III. The remaining Level IV prisoners who want to stay a part of the program will be granted an override and allowed to stay.

All of us involved in this ongoing struggle want to publicly thank Secretary Matthew Cate, Undersecretary Terri McDonald, Warden Scott McEwen, Chief Deputy Warden Carl Wofford, Captain Maryanne Beuchter, and Lt. Charles Hughes, all of whom stepped up and participated in this success. We appreciate your vision and your support.

We also want to challenge the Department to fully implement a positive, rewards-based management system throughout the prisons. The current negative, punishment-based management system simply does not work. Functioning, programming prisons enhance security and create a real space for the kinds of rehabilitative programs that must happen to prepare men and women to successfully reenter society.

Once again, thank you to all our many supporters. We are grateful and humbled.

The Steering Committee for the Honor Program and
The Friends and Families for the Honor Program

August 10, 2012

The CDCR has announced the Honor Program is now Level III, and no prisoners will be moved!

Check back next week for a detailed update.

July 12, 2012: For Immediate Release

The California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation has decided to transfer out more than three-quarters of the men successfully functioning on the Progressive Programming Facility at California State Prison-Los Angeles County in Lancaster. This will result in the only fully functioning maximum-security facility in the sprawling, sadly dysfunctional prison system to collapse.

The prison system in California is under a federal court mandate to shrink down from a high of almost 200% of capacity to only 137.5% of capacity by June of 2013. To accomplish this, the state has diverted low-level offenders to county jails and changed parole regulations. Ultimately, prisoners remaining in the 33 far-flung institutions of the system will be spread out to ease local crowding. To date, the process appears to be on track to meet court-ordered deadlines.

All of the above is to the good, and we congratulate Secretary of Corrections & Rehabilitation Matthew Cate for his valiant efforts to turn around the troubled prisons in a time of extreme fiscal constraint and limited options.

But moving so many of the men from the revolutionary Progressive Programming Facility to other, far less well functioning prisons is a bad idea for a number of reasons.

It spends money that doesn’t need to be spent on transfers that don’t need to happen.

It jeopardizes the stability of a program that should be the template for the future corrections system in California.

It causes needless hardship to hundreds of friends and family members of men currently housed in Los Angeles’s only prison.

There is still time to change this decision by the Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation. Read the full proposal submitted to Secretary Cate by the Friends and Families for the Honor Program, and click here for sample letters you can send to Secretary Cate to advocate for his support.

The Friends & Families for the Honor Program ask that you write and/or call Secretary Cate and ask him to allow all the men who desire to continue in the Progressive Programming Facility to stay. It’s simply the right thing to do.

Thank you for your support and assistance.

Secretary Matthew Cate
California Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation
1515 S Street
Sacramento, CA 95814
(916) 830-3676

December 21, 2011

The Friends and Families for the Honor Program (FFHP) is outraged by recent changes implemented by CSP-LAC administration which effectively eliminate the Honor Program. Read full text of FFHP’s letter to CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate.

Click here to read Operational Procedure #501, Inmate Program and Activity Schedule for Facility ‘A,’ revised November 2011, signed by Acting Warden Brenda Cash in one of her last actions before leaving CSP-LAC.

For comparison, click here to read Operational Procedure # 605, Progressive Programming Facility [PPF, previously known as the Honor Program] and accompanying October 22, 2009 memorandum signed by George Giurbino, Director (A), Division of Adult Institutions, CDCR.

Click here to see a chart illustrating the dramatic decrease in programming time over the past eleven years.


California prison cancels only successful rehabilitation program to create more state jobs.

Call To Action

Commitment And Dedication


Many chairs had to be added to the California Rehabilitation Oversight Board (C-ROB) meeting’s public seating section on August 5 to accommodate the large number of Honor Program supporters who were in attendance.

January 30 2009

CDCR Secretary Matthew Cate (along with his Deputy Chief of Staff Lee Seale, Inspector General Dave Shaw, and Prison Law Office Director Don Spector) visited the Honor Program.

Follow Honor Program Bill (SB 299) through the legislative process.

Additional writings by prisoners


“Art is long, life short; judgment difficult, opportunity transient”-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

CDCR Secretary James E. Tilton Announces Retirement

Mr. Tilton endorses programming in hisfarewell speech video...

"I've raised and the Governors raised the responsibility the CDCR has to identify and create safe environments in the prison system so those inmates who are willing to program and take responsibility for their lives can in fact do that in a safe environment - so we owe them that right"...

Prison Healthcare Receiver Robert Sillen Visits The Honor Program.

On November 20, 2007, Prison Healthcare Receiver Robert Sillen toured the Honor Program and met privately with Steering Committee Chairman Ken Hartman. They discussed the important role of the Honor Program in improving the health of prisoners by creating a physically and emotionally safe prison environment. During this very positive meeting, Mr. Sillen expressed his support for the Honor Program concept, and his agreement that the program is a highly beneficial one for the health of prisoners.

The commitment and dedication from Senator Gloria Romero and Supportive Legislators, the Honor Program Steering Committee, and Honor Program supporters remains strong...(read more)

SB 299 Vetoed by Governor Schwarzenegger

From A Maximum Security Prison to Shanghai China
Honor program prisoners support international Special Olympics through donation of stunning artwork

SB299 Receives Unanimous Support in Assembly Public Safety Committee

California Senate votes 31 to 6 in favor of SB 299

Follow Honor Program Bill (SB 299) through the legislative process…

Email Governor Schwarzenegger in Support of SB 299
Check For Signature of SB 299

Steering Committee Response To Expert Panel Report

April 17, 2007: Honor Program Bill (SB 299) receives unanimous bipartisan support and passes in the Senate Public Safety Committee!

While we are encouraged by the early success of the progress of the Honor Program Bill SB 299 through the Senate, it is important that we must not become complacent. This is a long and difficult process, and we still have many hurdles to overcome. We appreciate your continuing support. Please return to this website often to learn how you can help.

Press Release 03/26/2007
Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero held Public Safety Committee Informational Hearing on Honor Program bill SB299 on Monday, March 26, 2007

Press Release 03/15/2007

Click here to see the actual Senate Bill (SB 299)

What will be the fate of the 600 inmates if the Honor Yard Closes?See the latest video from Fox News 11.

Little Hoover Commission's January 2007 Report
Solving California's Corrections Crisis:
Time is Running Out

On January 24, 2007 revolutionary proposal released by prisoners read full press release...

What is the Honor Program?
The Honor Program, conceived by prisoners and non-custody staff, has been operating since 2000 on "A" Facility at California State Prison-Los Angeles County (CSP-LAC). Based on the principle of incentivizing positive behavior and holding individuals accountable for their actions, the purpose of the Honor Program is to create an atmosphere of safety, respect, and cooperation, so that prisoners can do their time in peace, while working on specific self-improvement and rehabilitative goals and projects which benefit the community. Prisoners wishing to apply for the program must commit to abstinence from drugs, gangs, and violence, and must be willing to live and work with fellow prisoners of any race. In its first year of operations, there was an 88% decrease in incidents involving weapons and an 85% decrease in violent incidents overall on "A" Facility; the Honor Program saved the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) over $200,000 during the first year alone in costs related to the management of violent and disruptive behavior. In its six years of operation, it has saved the California taxpayers hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of dollars.


SUPPORT SB299 by writing letters of support to your local Assemblyperson.

Click here to find your Assemblyperson.

Contact Information

For more program information please direct all correspondence to Ken Hartman at:prisonhonorprogram@hotmail.com

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