Staff Spotlight: Carl Mucha
July 10, 2023
We are proud to introduce you to Carl Mucha, MCRCC’s PREA Outreach Manager!
Let's start off by explaining a bit about the PREA Program. MCRCC believes in supporting all survivors of sexual assault, including survivors who are incarcerated. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA, passed federally in 2003) was created to eliminate sexual abuse in confinement. In line with those principles, MCRCC’s PREA program provides emotional support in the form of letter and phone correspondence, as well as in-person visits and forensic exam accompaniment, for incarcerated survivors who have experienced sexual assault. Carl provides client support, program management, as well as maintaining the many relationships and agreements that MCRCC has with different facilities as part of PREA.
At MCRCC, Carl is admired for his many positive qualities including his uplifting energy, candor, and ability to notice and collaborate with people’s strengths.
We asked Carl some questions about his work with MCRCC. Here is what he had to say:
MCRCC: For how long and in what roles have you worked at MCRCC?
Carl: “I started in 2013 as a Prevention Educator. I saw an ad that went something like, ‘Do you like speaking to groups? Are you comfortable speaking to young men?’ I had been a manager at Target and Home Depot prior to that, and I had also run a group for men before. I didn’t know much about sexual violence at the time but I was eager to learn more about the topic. So, there I went, after my training, showing up to a school, and the rest is history. I felt I was allowed the space to create the group in a way that worked.
Fast forward to 2017, a friend of mine at CTF (Correctional Training Facility, aka Soledad State Prison) encouraged me to run programs with the men there. In 2017 I left MCRCC and I worked out there until 2019, facilitating a substance abuse group, and also started working with long term offenders. Eventually, I made my way back to the MCRCC Prevention Program.”
MCRCC: What led you to begin working with the PREA Program?
Carl: “I shared an office with Deborah Pembrook who, at the time, was MCRCC’s Human Trafficking Outreach Manager and she also did some PREA work. She kept telling me that I’d be a great fit for the program. She encouraged me to write back to new clients who would send us PREA letters. Later down the road when Deborah was transitioning out of MCRCC for a new job, she encouraged me to take over. Then the COVID pandemic hit, we weren’t going out to the schools in person, and we reached a point where I was ready to transition out of prevention work in schools.
The timing of it all just made sense for me to transition full time into the PREA Manager. I sent a letter back to every PREA client who had written to us in the past, even if it had been 4 years, and a lot of them responded back. The program supports close to 70 clients right now! The majority of clients communicate through letter correspondence; some are by phone correspondence.”
MCRCC: What’s challenging about your work?
Carl: “The biggest challenge is gaining trust. Prison is a ‘don’t tell’ world. My clients have often lived lives where they haven't experienced trust before.”
MCRCC: What’s rewarding?
Carl: “One of the things about the work that’s rewarding, and maybe unique to me, is that my heart goes out to anyone who's ever made mistakes before and feels unheard, or like they're not important. I understand what all those feelings are like. I also understand what it feels like to have good people come into your life and want to help you. For me, establishing relationships with these individuals is really rewarding.
Another thing that is rewarding about my work is for my own kids to see that I’m here in the community helping others, being a positive role model. Leaving that legacy to them is important.
People rebuilding their lives and taking a vested interest in their lives is what inspires me. Also, the hope that people can regain dignity and understand that they’re worthy of that.”