Welcome to The Gamble Institute
TGI - Created For And By Parolees Print E-mail

Founded in October 2009 as a place for parolees, by parolees, The Gamble Institute's (TGI) mission is to work with community members to provide relevant services and implement research projects that create meaningful knowledge to improve conditions for formerly incarcerated adults and their families.

To date, over 400 men and women have participated in and helped develop TGI's programs.  Our newest project, the Street Scholars Peer Mentoring Program, is located on the campus of Merritt College. Street Scholars is a program created and led by formerly incarcerated adults and adults in recovery. Its purpose is to support formerly incarcerated women and men’s academic and vocational achievement, substance use recovery, and achievement of long-term stability in the community. 

The Peralta Community College District and Alameda County Innovations in Reentry Program provide financial support for Street Scholars. We have also received funding from The Center for Collaborative Research for an Equitable California, The Strive for Change Foundation, the UCSF School of Nursing, and many generous individual donors. To learn more about Street Scholars, visit our blog.

TGI_Logo_Color_013111_webThe thistle, TGI's logo, is beautiful and complicated, like parolees...

Why The Thistle? The writer, Jean Genet, wrote, "there is a close relationship between flowers and convicts."  At TGI we believe this to be true and much of our work is about changing the way the larger community views and understands men and women on parole.  The media frequently presents parolees in one of two ways in mug shots or as glamorous thugs - narrow representations of complex people with complicated lives. This is why, with the help of our Loved Ones, we chose the thistle as TGI's logo.

TGI Loved One, Melvin Knox, says of the thistle, "it's a beautiful flower that's been through some rough times - the rain, storms, all kinds of problems but it's still standing and it's still beautiful."  The thistle represents the complexity, depth, and beauty we see in our client-members and in all incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people around the world.  We believe you see it too.