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EBI Programs at South Facility


The Education-Based Incarceration program was developed by Sheriff Baca to provide a wide variety of educational opportunities to all inmates incarcerated in the Los Angeles County jail. PDC South Facility offers a wide variety of programs under the EBI umbrella. These include MERIT, 5 Keys Charter High School, Coastline Community College, LA Works Vocational Training, ABC Program, Malachi Men, Hollywood Impact, and TUMI (The Urban Ministry Institute).

The biggest program available in all facilities is the Maximizing Education Reaching Individual Transformation (MERIT) progression. MERIT students (inmates) progress through five successive levels: MERIT Beginnings, MERIT Life Skills, MERIT Graduates, MERIT Masters, and MERIT Continuum.

MERIT Beginnings is the first step in the progression. This program is available to general population inmates and facilitated by MERIT Masters inmates. The facilitators present the first-level MERIT Life Skills training. The MERIT Beginnings instructors help their students create and organize goals and objectives which they can use when they are ultimately released from custody. Students who have completed this six-week program are then given the opportunity to be transferred to the MERIT Life Skills program.

The MERIT Life Skills program is the second step in the progression. In this 12-week course, the student chooses to separate himself from the constraints of general population inmates and "jail politics." The student inmate now lives in a dorm comprised exclusively of inmates with the same commitment to change. The program is facilitated by dedicated Los Angeles Sheriff's Department staff, LA Works instructors, and volunteers who embrace the belief that incarcerated individuals can invoke profound change in their lives. The core component of MERIT is this Life Skills course. This component is comprised of five subjects geared toward enhancing cognitive thinking skills in the following areas: personal relationships, parenting, anger management, drug education, and spiritual growth.

The MERIT Graduates program is the third step in the progression. Students who successfully complete the MERIT Life Skills course and desire to continue their growth are admitted to the graduate program and dormitory. The MERIT Graduate dormitory is located at Pitchess Detention Center (PDC) South Facility and is comprised of MERIT Life Skills graduates from PDC South, PDC East, North County Correctional Facility, Men's Central Jail, and Twin Towers Correctional Facility. While in the MERIT Graduate dormitory, students are offered new courses that focus on conflict management, leadership, time management, human psychology, personal finance, and employment skills.

The MERIT Masters program is the fourth step in the progression. Students at this level of the MERIT program have now taken on the role of teacher/facilitators. They utilize the skills acquired in the MERIT Life Skills program and facilitate discussions with general population inmates. The course is designed to cover the primary areas of one's life such as recovery, family, personal relations, spirituality, and recreation. All MERIT Masters student/instructors must be graduates of the 12-week MERIT Life Skills course and pass an oral interview conducted by the MERIT staff.

MERIT Continuum is intended to help the inmate continue his path of self-change once he is released from jail. Family members are encouraged to participate with the individuals who attend weekly meetings. The assistance offered in these meetings include job help, tattoo removal, veterans assistance, homeless assistance, and drug programs. Meeting times and locations are as follows:

Tuesday nights from 7:00 pm 9:00 pm at Grace Baptist Church, 22833 Copper Hill Drive Santa Clarita, CA 91350, Building C Room C215.

Monday nights from 7:00 pm 9:00 pm, Urban League, 3001 W. Vernon Avenue Los Angeles, CA 90008.

Fourth Tuesday each month from 3:00 pm 4:00 pm, California Drug Counseling, 659 E. Walnut Street Pasadena, CA 91101 (323) 812-7948.

5 Keys Charter High School gives inmates, who did not graduate from High School, the opportunity to receive their High School Diploma. Those who have earned a GED can also continue and gain a diploma. The classes are taught by credentialed teachers. These include English, US History, World History, Basic Math, Algebra, Biology, Social Science, Physical Science, Economics, Government, Computers, Art, and Writing.

Coastline Community College is a two year accredited College that offers courses leading to an Associate of Arts Degree. It offers distance learning courses for incarcerated students as well. The inmates at PDC South can take a wide variety of classes through Coastline and continue their educational path. Click the link below for a list of classes offered. .....

LA Works Instructors teach other inmates at PDC South vocational skills that can be utilized after they are released to gain employment in the respective fields. Certificates are received on completion of various programs. These programs include construction, masonry, bicycle repair, dog grooming, landscaping, painting, woodshop, and welding. Inmates who are desirous to learn these skills simply need to fill out a request form. Once they are cleared to work outside the jail, they are placed on a work crew where they are taught the skills and apply what they learn.

The ABC program is offered to participants in MERIT as an incentive to be in the MERIT Program. Each Saturday inmates who are part of the ABC program are taught parenting classes by MERIT Program Staff. They are then allowed to have contact visits with their children. They visit with their kids in a daycare like environment where they interact by drawing, coloring, playing with toys and watching movies with their children.

Malachi Men is similar in that the inmates learn parenting skills. The skills learned in this program have a more spiritually based theme. The lessons taught are inspired from the book of Malachi in the Bible. Although these lessons don't culminate in a weekly contact visit, once the inmates are finished with the program they get to attend Returning Hearts with their children. For more on Returning Hearts click the link below.

Hollywood Impact is another course taught at PDC South Facility. In this class, inmates have the opportunity to learn about the movie and television industry. They learn the fundamentals of scriptwriting, acting, camera work, editing, and title making. It is offered to inmates who participate in the MERIT Program. Their website can be seen by clicking below.

TUMI (The Urban Ministry Institute) is yet another course at PDC South offered to MERIT members. It is a Seminary Course where inmates learn Theology & Ethics, Christian Ministry, and Biblical Studies. Their official website can be seen here:

As you can see, there is something for everyone at PDC South Facility. If you, or someone you know, has a loved one incarcerated here please encourage them to take part in one of the many programs PDC South has to offer. It can only make them a better person.

EBI Program at

Pitchess Detention Center, South Facility

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

29330 The Old Road

Castaic, CA 91384

(661) 295-8805

Inmate Info: (213) 473-6100

Sheriff Baca MERIT Graduation
Sheriff Baca MERIT Graduation

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