Updated: May 26, 2020
Jacques Verduin knows most of the men in San Quentin by name. And he’s trying to make sure that when they leave the California state prison, just across the San Francisco Bay in Marin County, they don’t ever come back.
Verduin — a tanned man with silver hair, in his mid-50s — has been running rehabilitation programs inside San Quentin for two decades. All it takes is a visit to one of his classes, offered once a week for an hour, to see he’s doing something different.
“Life, particularly if you’re upset — things happen very quickly. That’s when that moment of regret happens afterwards,” he tells his students during one session. He tells them that breathing can help diffuse the moments that can turn into violence.
The nonprofit program, called GRIP, or Guiding Rage into Power, runs for 52 weeks.