Meet the Cast of Terms of Confinement
Bradley Brown works in southern California as a consulting arborist, but he lives in dreamland as a poet. Forever indebted to Ms. Tobola’s influence, he has written seven books of poetry. He met Ms. Tobola in 2000 when she hired him as writing clerk for the Arts in Corrections program at California Men’s Colony (West). They reconnected in 2018, after 17 years of no contact. And it was as if no time had passed at all. Brad and Ms. T. are now in regular contact.
Joseph Krauter is a 38-year-old Autistic writer who paroled on December 4th, 2019. He works for the Humans of San Quentin as an editor/journalist and outreach coordinator and attends San Francisco State University, pursuing a Bachelorâ€™s degree in Creative writing with a minor in Linguistics. Joe advocates for Autistic people in prison, as well as those who need help with Board of Parole Hearings preparation and especially with reentry once they get back to society. He studied creative writing in San Quentinâ€™s Arts in Corrections program.
Daniel Kulijian is a retired defense contractor living in Orcutt California. He spends his time in various recovery related activities, performing music in local blues venues and loving on his wife and very cool cat. Daniel is a blues harp player and vocalist. Daniel has also been a long-term volunteer in the local mental health community, helping voice hearers understand and cope with their challenges.
Samuel K. Lloyd is keyboardist, vocalist, guitarist, engineer and recording artist who was born in Washington, D.C. and lives in Oakland. He was incarcerated for 20 years and began teaching music in Arts in Corrections at California State Prison, Solano.
Jorge Nunez Medina emigrated with his family to the United States from Mexico at the age of two, and was raised on the streets of Los Angeles. He fell into the gang life at a young age. he wrote his first poem while serving time in an L.A. County probation camp for boys. He worked in Arts in Corrections at the California Menâ€™s Colony, where he was named Poet Laureate. Coming full circle, he is a team teacher with Deborah Tobola in the California Menâ€™s Colonyâ€™s Page to Stage class, contributing virtually from his home in Tijuana, Mexico.
Ronald Melvin is from Brooklyn, New York. A saxophone player and songwriter, he studied music in the Arts in Corrections program at the Correctional Training Facility in Soledad. He says, â€œIâ€™ve been playing alto sax for the past 42 years. I am a product of Arts in Corrections. Iâ€™m truly appreciative of the Arts in Corrections family for the opportunities the program has afforded me.â€
Cheech Raygoza, after 13 years in and out of prison, decided to grow up and enrolled at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria. In August of 2020, he graduated with three Associate of Science degrees in Automotive Technology. He recently switched majors to sociology and plans to attend the University of California, either in Santa Barbara or Berkeley. He says, â€œPoetic Justice Project has inspired me to step out of my comfort zone and reach for the stars! The future Dr. Raygoza.â€
Caroline Taylor-Hitch joined Poetic Justice Project in 2010 and has appeared in eight previous productions. â€œIâ€™m happy to be joining another production. I love Poetic Justice Project.â€
Leeander Tillman is an avid musician who learned how to play from his father and his uncle. Their band, The Roadmasters, was very popular in the â€˜50s and â€˜60s in Long Island, New York. Leeander has three sons, who are also musicians. He learned read music in the Arts in Corrections program at the California Menâ€™s Colony-West. When heâ€™s not playing music, Leeander likes to go fishing.
James Ward says, â€œFor the first 32 years of my life, I lived recklessly and irresponsibly, searching in all the wrong places for the love that was inside of me all that time. Then I went to prison, and spent 38 long hard but productive years behind the walls and fences. It took me that long to trudge through all my emotional detritus to finally find the love that I had so futilely sought as an imprisoned free man for 32 years. IT WAS INSIDE OF ME ALL THE TIME!â€ James studied creative writing in the Arts in Corrections program at California State Prison, Solano.
Deborah Tobola, Founding Artistic Director of Poetic Justice Project, is a poet, playwright and prison creative writing teacher. Her memoir, Hummingbird in Underworld: Teaching in a Menâ€™s Prison, published in 2019, won a Next Generation Indie Book Award in Social Justice, a Nautilus Silver Book Award in Heroic Journeys, a Readersâ€™ Favorite Bronze Medal in Non-Fiction â€“ Social Issues and was named a Creative Nonfiction finalist in Willa Literary Awardâ€™s Women Writing the West. In November 2020, the book was released in Taiwan and Hong Kong.
Robyn Taylor, Director, holds a Bachelorâ€™s Degree in Theatre Arts from California State University at Northridge, and recently completed additional degrees in Human Services, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Addiction Studies. She has an affinity (or a compulsion, some would argue) for creative problem solving and turning random â€œstuff and thingsâ€ into art. She is driven to contribute to the world by giving a voice to those who are often overlooked. Everyone has a story that needs to be heard. She is always honored to have an opportunity to merge her passions through her work with Poetic Justice Project.
Christopher Doran, Film Editor, is also a writer, actor, artist and musicianâ€”a story teller experimenting in every medium. He produced an album with Acara records, reaching his largest performance as the opening act for “War” at the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in 2012. After earning communications and anthropology degrees at Southern Oregon University, he focused on film, honing his commercial screenwriting and filmmaking skills by producing more than 200 commercial tutorial videos. Christopher lives in Portland with his wife Nickie and dog Murphy, where he works as a freelance copywriter, video editor, and creative content producer.
Jose â€œJoeyâ€ Reyes (He/Him), Tech Support, is the Prison Arts Program Manager for the William James Association. Reyes is both an artist and cultural worker with over 15 years in the non-profit visual arts & culture sector. He holds a BFA in pictorial studies from San Jose State University with two years of additional study at Syracuse University.
Steven Emrick, Moderator, has over thirty years of providing Arts Programming as an Artist Facilitator at three different state prisons and in the Youth Authority. He recently retired as the Community resources manager at San Quentin State Prison where he coordinated over 50 different self-help programs and managed over 2,000 volunteers and guest visitors annually. In 2009 Steven received a Heroes of Compassion from the Dalai Lama for his work providing arts programming to incarcerated populations. He has an MA from Central Washington State University in Wood Design and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Sculpture and Furniture design from San Diego State University.
Henry Frank, Moderator, is from the Yurok and Pomo Nations. He is the programs and communications assistant for the William James Association and a Teaching Artist for the Prison Arts Program. Henry has been creating art for more than 40 years. He is a painter, bookbinder, printer (mono/reduction), poet, and a gourd artist. Heâ€™s been the business owner of Redtail Art since 2014.