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Lifers in California Prisons help new inmates rehabilitate

Added: (Thu May 11 2006)

Pressbox (Press Release) - With the US prison population being the largest on the planet in terms of incarcerated prisoners as well as paroled and probationed AND an ever increasing recidivism ( return to crime) statistic, it is time for effective programs and for the idea of rehabilitation to become a reality. The cost of running the prison systen in just one state - California - in the US is now at $8.2BN for the year 2005/2006! Very costly indeed and MORE costly in the lives taken.

Here are 2 testimonies to the growing evidence that education, and rehabilitation DO work and work better when the criminal's personal self- respect is restored.

“The main skill I’ve learned in the Recognizing and Overcoming Anti-social Behaviours course is with the relationships I’ve established with a few of the younger inmates who have arrived. A lot of them show antisocial attributes thinking that’s what is expected of them in prison – to be hard and to exhibit a “hard” façade. What I’ve tried to do is to show these types that one can be sociable in this environment and not necessarily with other “hard” type inmates. I have steered at least a half dozen younger inmates into vocational/education courses and taught them that they don’t have to portray a “hard” exterior. Two of them already have earned their GEDs (high school diplomas) and are interested in community college courses and they are more positive about life in general and their negative comments have been cut way down.”

Jeff L
Avenal State Prison, CA
Recognizing and Overcoming Anti-social Behaviours Course

“During the process of taking the Personal Integrity course, I began attending a weekly “Lifers’ group. Sitting and talking, I slowly learned the language, the process and new methods of how to deal with people in a positive way and how to use the moral codes in the group. I became aware of my emotions in every day situations, why I feel a certain way and how to acknowledge and nurture my own healing process. I was able to recognize the many forms of trusting and accepting without rejection. I helped build this group, a small community of Lifers who are now making a positive change in their lives. Now my example is manifested in other men in their behavior. I witness it every day now.”

Ronald A
Avenal State Prison, CA
Personal Integrity Course

This indicates that there is a glimmer of hope and that we can take that glimmer and make it a huge ray of true hope and help.

Submitted by:Greg Capazorio
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