She believes it’s important for CAMS volunteers to see the places where their matches served their time, to soak up the atmosphere, and gain insight into offenders’ ways of thinking.
Once the inmate is on the street, he/she meets with the CAMS volunteer on an average of twice a week to discuss problems and lay out strategies for living.
Johannesen works hard to recruit more CAMS volunteers — speaking at churches and schools, papering the colleges and universities with flyers and, as she says, talking to anybody who will listen.
To sharpen interactive skills and help volunteers maintain enthusiasm, Johannesen arranges for them to meet periodically, for “in-service,” after the initial 10 weeks of training to share their experiences and tour nearby facilities — Kent, William Head and Fraser Valley Institution for Women.
But negative experiences have been few in the program’s history.
Over 60 volunteers have gone through the 10-week training and, since 2001, they have assisted 104 parolees (with 42 matches in 2004 alone).