Engaged Learning

USF Senior Teaches Non-Violence to Inmates

by Laura Waldron

A University of San Francisco student, ex-convict, and former inmate of San Quentin State Prison is working to reduce domestic violence and re-educate men currently in jail for domestic violence and abuse.

Reggie Daniels '11, a USF business organization student, works at the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP), an organization within the San Francisco Sheriff’s Department. As a case manager and facilitator, Daniels teaches inmates at the San Bruno County Jail to assert themselves non-violently. The program he teaches, Manalive, focuses on developing listening and communication skills so that violent offenders can translate their emotions into words instead of violence.

“I love it when guys have that ‘aha’ moment,” said Daniels, an honor roll student who plans to apply to USF for graduate school after graduating in May. He hopes to continue working with RSVP, facilitating violence-reduction programs while he pursues a degree in international and multi-educational programs.

“My goal is to become a liaison between those incarcerated and higher education,” said Daniels, who applied to USF after collaborating with Assistant Professor and Dance Coordinator Amie Dowling in 2008 on a play put on by Community Works, RSVP’s sister organization that focuses on restorative arts in jails.

Daniels was incarcerated for weapons charges and drug sales in 1990 and spent four years in San Quentin. While in jail, he enrolled in RSVP to help him break the cycle of violence. After his release, Daniels committed himself to RSVP’s mission to promote restorative justice. He recently told his story on KQED radio’s “Perspectives” program.

“As a formally incarcerated man Reggie brings tremendous credibility to this work,” said Ruth Morgan, executive director of Community Works. Since its inception in 1997, RSVP has worked with approximately 300 incarcerated men a year.

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