How To Turn Your Life Around After Addiction: The Offender Mentor Certification Program

Graduate holding his diploma.

How To Turn Your Life Around After Addiction: The Offender Mentor Certification Program

The thought of turning life around after addiction may seem nearly impossible. Many individuals who face challenges with substance use may feel lost or helpless. Some individuals may feel their reputation is “tainted” after presenting their past addictive behaviors. This can cause a cycle of profoundly negative thoughts that can significantly interfere with an individual’s treatment progress. These thought patterns may eventually manifest into insecurities due to low self-esteem. The Offender Mentor Certification Program at the California State Prison in Lancaster has inspired many individuals to turn their lives around. One can live a better, happier life in recovery. Everyone can change their life regardless of their past as an offender.

What Is the Offender Mentor Certification Program

According to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR), the Offender Mentor Certification Program is a program for incarcerated individuals seeking more structure and balance in their lifestyle. The program can provide each long-term incarcerated individual with voluntary guidance training to achieve an Alcohol and Other Drug (AOD) counselor certification.

Upon graduating from the program, such individuals will be given the opportunity to facilitate Cognitive-Behavioral Intervention programs (CBI) within all adult institutions. Each mentor can provide light direction and peer support to other incarcerated individuals assigned to the CBI program. 

Turning Life Around With the Offender Mentor Certification Program

For some individuals, making a significant change in their lifestyle may seem nearly impossible. Due to a major lack of self-esteem and confidence, they may feel acceptance from others could never be achieved. Self-forgiveness is crucial to finding peace and success in one’s future. 

As stated by the CDCR above publication, once completing training and internship requirements, an Offender Mentor Certification Program mentor has the potential to earn different credits. These include: 

  • Milestone credit
  • Educational merit credit
  • AOD Certification 


The AOD certification can be obtained through any certifying organization that the Department of Health Care Services acknowledges. The certification can also be used to gain new employment opportunities upon release. Therefore, OMCP members can smoothly transition into society through light facilitation and guidance. 

Words of Encouragement From the Offender Mentor Certification Program

At the California state prison, such individuals are no longer prisoners; they are successful professionals working every day to impact others positively. Through counseling, an individual is essentially helping someone overcome their challenges with addiction. Therefore, they are encouraged to change their lives and their family members’ perspectives effectively.

“I can tell you there is nothing more important in the entire state of California today than this graduation,” says DRP Director Brant Choate.

Each positive milestone witnessed by peers can help give a healthy perspective for overall addiction and co-occurring mental health awareness. A mentor can effectively guide others through trusted experience by supporting evidence-based treatment and recovery practices. Making recovery in all its forms possible is something to be proud of. It can be a highly rewarding experience for an OMCP member to be a part of the recovery community. This is CDCR’s biggest mission. 

Moving Forward With the Offender Mentor Certification Program

It is common for many individuals to feel hesitant to move forward with the Offender Mentor Certification Program. For example, one may feel they do not meet the requirements to get started. Perhaps they feel that they do not deserve this opportunity due to intense guilt. Others may feel they have been detached from society for too long, quite possibly to achieve a professional lifestyle. 

Regardless of one’s background, once the program has been completed, many offenders have proven to achieve great establishments in their future. Choosing to participate in the Offender Mentor Certification Program can change not only an incarcerated individual’s life but their peers as well. Choosing to serve the community in the recovery process for others can make waking up for the day fulfilling and purposeful. The Offender Mentor Certification Program can be the silver lining against one’s negative past. 

Assistance Upon Release From the Offender Mentor Certification Program

At the program’s start, such individuals will be encouraged to recognize their problems through self-improvement. They are typically given the guidance needed to resolve specific issues. Therefore, they are ready to address the concerns of others. Through personal experience, the Offender Mentor Certification Program can help others discover the deep culprit of their addiction and break it down with a guided treatment plan. 

The program helps incarcerated individuals thoroughly understand the value of their assistance and support upon release. Doing this gives them a clear message for moving forward with their profession. Through ongoing support, post-release assistance can help one effectively maintain success. Assistance may include: 

  • Retrieving them from the entrance
  • Providing them with information and services
  • Connecting graduates with internships
  • Providing them with housing assistance