Current News...

-One of the greatest joys in my day to day is hearing the voices of children down the hall from my office in the “play care” room, enjoying themselves as they wait for their parent or caregiver to meet with one of our case managers. I feel change happening. And each moment of change has a child’s face….bright, and smiling and hopeful.

The other “greatest joy” is when we experience a “first”…and we have lots of them these days.

Our first tattoo removal event in Stockton, removing barriers to employment for so many people who are making better choices these days;

Our first Women’s Wellness Program graduation in the San Joaquin County Jail, funded through our Wellness Reentry Program, thanks to the California Wellness Foundation. Gender responsive and trauma informed, this is healing work blessed by the evidence that says it works to move women to a more emotionally healthy place in their lives….and the lives of their children.

Our first “official” graduation for our Fresh Start Program, an evidence- based addiction treatment program (University of Cincinnati) funded by the San Joaquin County Probation Department.

Publication of our Positive Parenting Program curriculum, soon to be ready for distribution to corrections facilities, community corrections and other sites working with at risk parents. Corrections Today published a great article about our program and evaluation (thank you to our board members Charlene Wear Simmons, PhD, Amanda Noble PhD and Marcus Nieto….all retired from the California Research Bureau.)

And coming soon: our eager participation in the Step Down program in the SHU at Pelican Bay..and most likely in other institutions as well. Step Down is a way for SHU inmates to program out of confined housing into the general population. Friends Outside has been programming in SHU for many years, but this new opportunity will expand the possibilities from individual work to group work….all going well. I have been there and will never forget that even in the most confined spaces there can be hope. We acknowledge our partners at the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for allowing us to work side by side with them inside…way inside... since 1971. We appreciate your confidence in us, and for the opportunity to do our Mission-based work.

Thank you to those who support our work….in word, thought, and deed. Thank you all for your confidence in us. Thank you for believing in the capacity of human beings to change.

Gretchen Newby, MA
Executive Director


Friends Outside, on behalf of the Bill of Rights for children of incarcerated parents, invites you to join SEE US, SUPPORT US, a month long campaign to increase visibility of children of incarcerated parents. For more information click here click here.


Help us help a child to know they are not alone in the world, by making their holiday a little brighter. Your gift will bring a little joy to their holiday season, and bring them hope. Read the Holiday Wish List Letter or Download Sponsor Form.


Making A Difference,

One at a Time




DonateDonating in memory of a loved one?

Please click on the heart and specify who by sending a message with your donation through PayPal.

  • On any given day, there are an estimated 2 million children in America with at least one parent in prison or jail.
  • 1 in every 100 adults in America is in jail or prison.
  • An estimated 2.7 million children in California have a parent currently in California’s adult criminal justice system, including approximately 195,000 who have parents in a state prison.
  • For over 60 years, Friends Outside has been providing services to incarcerated and reentering people, their families and communities.


Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

Resource Links