History of Our Founder



In 1955, an Inmate in the Santa Clara County Jail expressed concern regarding his family to Sheriff Mel Hawley. He had not been in touch with them since he was incarcerated, and did not know if they knew he was in jail.


Sheriff Hawley asked his sister if she and a friend would be willing to go and call on the family, since they did not have a telephone. The friend was Rosemary Goodenough. She and the Sheriff's sister were deeply moved by the situation in which they found the family. They were living in extreme poverty. They gathered some emergency food and clothes through church sources, and made sure the family was connected with appropriate public assistance.


With the encouragement of the Sheriff, Rosemary started visiting the jail in order to facilitate better communication between inmates and their families. The needs with which she was presented rapidly outstripped her personal ability to respond, so she began recruiting friends to help. Although Friends Outside is not a religious organization, Rosemary was a Quaker. Thus was born an organization which originally was called the Santa Clara County Sheriff's Auxiliary, later changed to the name "Friends Outside."


In 1974 the Modesto Chapter came into existence and has been operating now for over 40 years. One of our main goals is the facilitate long-term public safety and cost effectiveness for the citizens of Stanislaus County by helping offenders become accountable, responsible, law abiding member of the community. This is achieved through our in-custody lifeskills classes, on-going communication assistance between inmates, their families and the outside community and our job development program which helps candidates secure and maintain employment after custody.


(Core Values) We believe...


  1. The trauma of arrest, separation, public trial, and confinement can be devastating to a family, especially the children. Children are particularly frightened and bewildered by the experience of an arrest. They are embittered by the embarrassment and poverty thrust upon them through no fault of their own by a process they don't understand.

  3. Inmates are more likely to accept personal responsibility for their actions and remain out of jail or prison upon release if they are able to maintain contact with their families while they are in confinement. Lifeskills programs for inmates, such as parenting classes, job development assistance and pre-release classes focusing on positive behavioral changes can be vital components in the successful reunification of families and successful reintegration back into society.

  5. Ex-prisoners can make a more productive parole and re-entry into the community if opportunities for employment, housing, other basic needs and substance abuse prevention programs are available.

  7. The tensions, anxieties and frustrations felt by prisoners and correctional staff are eased by providing information and assistance.

  9. People in the community at large and in government agencies want to support our efforts when they understand the problems and opportunities.