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Source — The Marshall Project

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USA: working their way home from prison

When young men arrive at Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp—California’s first and only remaining rehabilitative prison camp for offenders sentenced as teens—they first notice the trees. Pine Grove sits in a small valley just above the snow line in the western Sierra Nevadas, between a casino and the mountains.

The second thing they notice is that there is no barbed wire surrounding the property.

Photographer Brian L. Frank, a 2017 Catchlight Foundation fellow, spent a year working with The Marshall Project to examine alternatives to traditional incarceration. One piece of that work, shown here, focuses on the young men incarcerated at Pine Grove, also known as “fire camp.” Frank documented the men, who range in age from 18 to 24, as they learned to fight fires and perform other wilderness jobs, such as clearing brush and streams. He followed the prisoners as they attended school and, eventually, were released back to their communities.

Those young men included Marcus Tapia, Kermit Moore and Kain Castro, who each came to Pine Grove in 2016. Tapia and Moore grew up in Los Angeles and were raised primarily by their grandparents. Tapia was imprisoned for armed robbery and gun possession; Moore for attempted murder. Castro grew up in Salinas, where he lived with his mother, brother and sister. In his teens, Castro was arrested and sent to prison for assault. All three were incarcerated in state prisons for juveniles before earning their places at Pine Grove with good behavior and by taking classes and programs.

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