CARLOS CERVANTES

MENTORSHIP and RIDE HOME COORDINATOR

Carlos Cervantes was born and raised in Los Angeles. Growing up in the inner city, with his mother, stepfather, and three siblings was tough. His living conditions consisted of constantly moving from house to house and to different schools. Having experienced a mentally and physically abusive childhood, Carlos turned to the streets to find the necessary acceptance that he needed, and became involved with drugs and alcohol at a young age. The lifestyle that Carlos was living lasted until he was incarcerated at the age of 16. Carlos was facing a 35-to-life sentence as a youth offender and was tried as an adult. He went to a state prison at the age of 17.

While incarcerated, Carlos took the necessary steps to change his life, changing his behavior and enrolling into a college program. He was one of the first to graduate from the Palo Verde Community College program at Ironwood State Prison with an Associate of Arts degree. He married his current wife and they had their first child two years later. Carlos was paroled in 2011 at 27 years old and discharged parole successfully. Today, Carlos is a proud homeowner with the desire to create a stable home for his daughter, and is a loving husband and father.

Carlos has been involved with the Anti-Recidivism Coalition (ARC) since it’s creation. Carlos strongly believes in being present with those being released from prison. In 2012, along with Michael Romano, Director of Stanford School of Law Three Strikes Project, Carlos co-founded the ARC Ride Home Program, which is now nationally recognized by the administration of President Barack Obama. A person's success is determined by the first few hours and days of being released. Instead of allowing released individuals to ride a greyhound bus home, Carlos and other Ride Home drivers meet them at the prisons gates, take them to their first meal, provide them with clothing, and welcomes them home to the community. The New York Times Magazine has profiled Carlos for the Ride Home Program.

Before joining ARC, Carlos served as the Director of Development at Jesuit Restorative Justice Initiative (JRJI), where he created funding opportunities through grant writing, individual prospects, and small events. JRJI provides services for youth and adults who are incarcerated through a program that helps, guides, and assists young men and women to restore broken relationships and become emotionally tuned, so that when they return home, they have full control of their lives. Carlos is also a member of ARC's Member Board and has served on the Advisory Board of the Office of Restorative Justice of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.