ACTION ALERT! Download SB 94 Toolkit here:

Walking the Yard

Walking the Yard is a mentorship program within prison where old-time lifers are matched with youth just entering prison with the focus being on how best to avoid the many pitfalls of prison life.

To date, we’ve coordinated over 2,000 mentors in all 34 prisons.

Walking The Yard Booklet
Walking the Yard program Fair Chance Project

Some comments from mentees about their experience with the Walking The Yard mentoring program:

“The Walking the Yard mentoring program has been very helpful to me because it has opened my eyes for what life is all about. Before enrolling in this program my mind and thought process was set upon one way of thinking: Myself.

“Little by little as the days would come and go through this program seeds would be planted in my mind that I would later reflect up. While reflecting, my mind became somewhat awakened to reality and is still growing. I thank this program for helping me and my selfish ways, because it’s not about myself but family.”

“Thanks to the WTY program I have found someone I can go to when I need to talk, or just get some positive advice. The influence and positive encouragement I get from my mentor has helped me build trust and made me more confident in myself to achieve a higher potential. My mentor helped me realize that even in this environment we can still be productive individuals and make a difference.” 

“I have two small children and it’s been difficult trying to be a father and role model to them from in here. My mentor gave me hope and led me to the right resources that enabled me to learn how to be a father with dignity and still make a positive impact on my children’s lives. Now I’m starting to take action and make better decisions by enrolling into self-help groups, parenting classes and enrolling into college. I truly & genuinely appreciate my mentors guidance and encouragement, but more importantly his friendship.”

“My mentor helped me realize how the choices I make in life effect so many other lives. He helped me to see a better way to communicate with people especially my wife and how spending time with her and my kids is very important. I’ve learned that I need to be more responsible.”

“My mentor has showed me how to talk out situations instead of reverting to violence. He has taught me a lot and I’m grateful God has put him in my life.”

“Being able to be aware and see things you couldn’t see when you were younger gives you a new perspective on life. With that awareness you want to do better and try to give back what you took from society with your bad behavior by helping others.”

Before talking with my mentor I was just doing time, doing what I did every day. Now he has motivated me to do something with myself, to take advantage of this time and not waste it, learn something that will help me in life instead of just hanging out on the yard working out.”

“What the program did for me is help me conduct myself in a better manner and realize all the options I have and using them in a positive way and staying away from negative choices.”

“This program has helped me with being able to manage my time and not make rush decisions, to think things through. Gives me a feeling that I can accomplish and succeed in society.” 


Walking The Yard - Pleasant Valley State Prison

Certificates presented to Walking The Yard participants at Pleasant Valley State Prison 2024