CTF car show
Correctional Training Facility in Soledad hosts a car show organized by custody staff and the incarcerated population on May 19. (Contributed)

SOLEDAD — In an unprecedented event, Correctional Training Facility (CTF) staff and inmates organized their first car show last month at the Soledad facility.

On May 19, CTF custody staff and the incarcerated population of Facilities A and B put on the first-of-its-kind car show, featuring 19 vehicles and two motorcycles from the New Arrivals and Aztec Legacy car clubs, along with additional vehicles displayed by staff.

During the opening ceremony, the National Anthem was proudly sung by an incarcerated veteran from Facility B’s Veterans Hub. There were also live music performances by the incarcerated population, and the staff barbecue vendor was provided by the Veterans Transition Center of Marina.

While being a celebration, the event also aligned with the department’s goals of the California Model.

The California Model emphasizes a correctional philosophy fostering normalization, peer mentorship, trauma-informed care and dynamic security. These principles aim to cultivate a humane, rehabilitative environment where staff and incarcerated individuals interact with mutual respect and understanding. Events like these are critical components of the department’s efforts to prepare incarcerated people for successful reintegration into society.

CTF car show
A great turnout for the first car show at Correctional Training Facility in Soledad. (Contributed)

“This event is crucial for us to show appreciation for staff’s consistent efforts to aid our rehabilitation,” said one of the incarcerated participants. “It’s about respect and community, and that’s what motivates us to keep improving.”

Guest speakers included a retired correctional officer and members of the car clubs, all noting the innovation behind allowing a car show to be held inside a prison.

Winning vehicles were the following: 

  • First Place — New Arrivals Car Club, 1965 Buick Wildcat;
  • Second Place — Aztec Legacy Car Club, 1937 Pontiac Silver Streak; and
  • Third Place — Aztec Legacy Car Club, 1964 Ford.

The event also featured a food sale fundraiser with all proceeds benefiting Soledad Swim, a nonprofit organization. The food sale raised $2,908 for the group.

CTF car show
CTF Acting Warden Edward J. Borla, staff and the car clubs gather at the event. (Contributed)

Acting Warden Edward J. Borla commented on the significance of events like the car show, calling them a “catalyst for breaking down barriers and building positive relationships within the prison.”

“Bringing outside community members in to share within this community brings all of us together,” Borla said. “The sentiment from many who attended the car show, both staff and the incarcerated population, (was how) it did not feel like prison during the event. The razor wire and towers all disappeared, and it felt like a car show at a park.” 

He added that those feelings are the “essence” of the California Model.

“The conversations about the beautiful cars on display between the community members, staff and population won’t end just because the car show has ended. They continue for days, weeks and months to come,” Borla said.

Lt. Luis Mares contributed to this article.

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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