Traveling Vietnam Memorial Visits a Prison for First Time Ever
SOLEDAD – “The Wall That Heals,” a replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be on public display at Correctional Training Facility (CTF) until Monday morning. The traveling memorial offers a chance to honor and remember those military veterans who died fighting for their country. The memorial, now available for the public to view, had been on display inside the institution for inmate viewing. It marked the first time the memorial has ever been inside a prison or in Monterey County.
“It’s an honor to host such a prestigious memorial here at CTF,” Warden Randy Grounds said. “Inmate veterans were instrumental in bringing ‘The Wall That Heals’ to CTF. Inmates, both those who have served in the military and those who did not, benefitted from the memorial by recognizing the contributions veterans have made for their country. Our hope is that their reflections on the silent testimony of the names inscribed on the Vietnam Memorial Wall will cause them to begin to change their lifestyles for the better.”
The memorial was brought to CTF after a three-year effort by two combat veteran inmates who founded and operate the Veterans Services Office (VSO). Since the VSO started in 2005, it has assisted in the recovery of approximately $5 million in disability compensation to inmates for injuries received during military service. More than $4 million was earned compensation available to the eligible dependents of those veterans. Of the more than 215 veterans paroled with VSO assistance, only two are known to have returned with parole violations. As of April 2011 there were 3,913 veterans in the state prison system.
On June 22, CTF hosted a ceremony for “The Wall That Heals” inside the institution to acknowledge veteran inmates and recognize the efforts of the VSO. A second ceremony will be held on June 25 at 10 a.m. in the prison’s parking lot and is open to the public. This ceremony will provide the public an opportunity to honor those lost at war and recognized the efforts of the VSO. The memorial will be on 24/7 public display from 10 a.m. Saturday, June 25 through 9 a.m., Monday, June 27.
CTF opened in 1946 as a camp administered by San Quentin State Prison before becoming its own prison by 1947. In 1951 Central Facility was opened and in 1958 North Facility opened. CTF has three facilities that operate independently of each other and securely house minimum- and medium-security inmates. CTF also offers numerous self-help and vocational programs to the inmate population.
CONTACT: LT. DARREN CHAMBERLAIN, (831) 678-5952
AMANDA LASH, (916) 445-4950