Back to the Start
Back to the Start produces powerful narratives underscoring the need for critical investments in early childhood and family resources. Co-led by incarcerated individuals at San Quentin and a former Chief Physician and Surgeon of California's prison health care system, the new narrative series is written by incarcerated persons reflecting on the arc of their lives from childhood to incarceration. This initiative is grounded in the power of stories and provides a historically missing viewpoint to help build empathy and a shared understanding of the legacy of our nation's systemic and racial inequities starting at birth.
If you ask participants why they chose to join Back to the Start and share personal and often painful reflections from the time in their life when they were most vulnerable, you will hear the same answer-they hope their stories will "make a difference so that others won't have to go through the same thing." After having been incarcerated and disempowered for years or sometimes decades, participants are discovering that even behind bars their stories are important and have power. Back to the Start gives them a platform through storytelling to be part of the solution in addressing the root causes of health and systemic inequities impacting their community.
Our mission is to empower incarcerated people to share their childhood stories to galvanize support for upstream investments that ensure all children and families can reach their full potential.
Our vision is to reshape our nation's social contract with the most vulnerable of our society to focus on investments in upstream development and growth rather than paying an even higher price on downstream systems, such as mass incarceration, that are only treating the symptoms of our policy failures.