Tag: rehab

GUEST ARTICLE: How Corrections Help Prisoners Reform

Today we have a guest article submission. Daphne Holmes article is about reform programs within prisons. Based on my own experience I have to be honest and say I doubt the effectiveness of many of today’s typical prison reform programs — for instance one prison I was at, rehab class consisted of us sitting in a room, without instructor or instruction, for a designated amount of time so that the prison got the credit for a rehabilitation program — but I do agree that “reform” ought to be the main objective, for drug cases. Hope you enjoy the read, send your feedback. And if you would like to be a guest writer for us, just shoot me a note. Peace ~ Magnum

In addition to protecting the public from dangerous criminals, reforming offenders is among the central functions of corrections agencies. A hotly debated topic, rehabilitation strategies at corrections facilities draw attention for their failures, but there are also successful programs operating within the country’s corrections systems.

Each state, and individual facility ultimately control what types of reform programs are made available to inmates, so specific needs are addressed in-house. These programs represent some of the alternatives being utilized to help set prisoners on the proper path to rehabilitation.

Cage Your Rage – This anger management program operates at many correctional facilities, often as an extension of a popular workbook of the same name. The multi-week course helps inmates identify specific causes of anger, subsequently offering recommendations for managing the conditions at the root of their anger issues. Nature vs. Nurture questions are explored, helping offenders recognize how past events come to bear on their present behaviors. Through reading, discussions and written exercises; inmates devise personalized approaches to overcoming anger and aggression.

Canine Programs – The effectiveness of rehabilitative work with animals is proven many times over in medical settings. Patients and elderly residents consistently find comfort and rehabilitation alongside domestic animals. Animals provide similar benefits in corrections settings. In some programs, rescued dogs and cats are paired with inmates responsible for nurturing and training them. The service assists inmates; but it also prepares animals to be placed in loving homes. Obedience training and special service instruction is conducted by offenders, who learn practical animal handling skills as well as compassion and the value of commitment.

Life Without a Crutch Program – This program uses classroom settings, written course materials and personal assignments to help offenders come face to face with their addictive behaviors. Participants learn to see the bigger picture, including how addiction impacts loved ones and others surrounding them. Formal intervention, such as 12-step programs are discussed as well as treatment and counseling alternatives available outside corrections facilities. By incorporating self-assessment into the curriculum, Life Without a Crutch embowers offenders to take control of their own situations. There is evidence of success, including one study which polled inmates who have completed the program. Across the board, offenders’ attitudes and perceptions about drug and alcohol use changed positively after completing the program.

Social Survival Skills Courses – Integrating into society after serving prison time presents unique challenges for inmates unfamiliar with some aspects of modern socialization. Practical skills courses are common features at corrections institutions, sometimes reserved for inmates destined for parole hearings or release dates. Topics like money management and employment practices are explored in ways incarcerated citizens can understand, setting the stage for their success upon release.

Inmates Helping Inmates– Unique programs, including one initiated by Percy Pitzer, a retired warden, which helps inmates help each other. Pitzer’s initiative, launched with $150,000 worth of personal funding, furnishes scholarship money for children of incarcerated parents. Aiming to break the string of poverty and offending that often plagues families with incarcerated members, Pritzer asks inmates to contribute to the fund themselves.

Corrections agencies serve vital functions, including reforming offenders. Various efforts put-forth by facilities across the country are serving inmates well; preparing them for life on the outside and creating access to skills they’ll need once there.

Author:
Daphne Holmes contributed this guest post. She is a writer from ArrestRecords.com and you can reach her at daphneholmes9@gmail.com.

So this is Christmas…

This week  I sit here, away from my family at the holidays once again, and I find myself thinking. I am where the universe wants me to be, or else I wouldn’t be here. Since I don’t want to be here, I realize I need to look for the lesson in the situation.

Christmas is in just a few more days. It is hard to believe that last year at this time of year I was in prison too. And, the year before that I was in a long term rehab at Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years… and the year before THAT I was also in rehab during all the holidays. It makes you think I must like being locked up and I must care less about days like Christmas and holidays, right?

No, that is not true. I can’t wait to spend next Christmas with my family.  So, what’s the lesson in all this? I think the lesson is – Whatever stupid shit you are doing that will put you in prison, think about it. When I was out there and I knew I was screwing up on my probation, I wasn’t thinking about things like missing my family so much, and the good times spent with them at the holidays.

What I was thinking back then was that probation was just as bad as prison would be, it was keeping me from doing what I wanted, and stressing me out, and I wasn’t free with probation hanging over my head. I was thinking that my probation officer was an asshole for making me piss in a cup. I was thinking it was cool to put off my community service work when a friend wanted me to do something with them. I was thinking my friends had my back, just like I had theirs. I was thinking that AA was bullshit because when I tried getting sober I was bored and didn’t have friends and it wasn’t possible to hang out where and with who I wanted to.  I was thinking shooting heroin wasn’t that bad because it mellowed me out, and I barely drank at all when I used. I was thinking a little meth mixed in was ok too. And I was thinking if I ended up having to do some time in prison, well I could handle that, it wasn’t going to be that big of a deal for me. I wasn’t scared of it. That is what I was thinking.

What I was not thinking about then, was that in all this time since, not one of those friends have written me, visited me, or asked my family where I was for that matter. For all I know, they think I am dead. I was not thinking that the scariest, hardest, worse part of prison wasn’t going to be the fights, gangs or the shithead guards, that it is the gut wrenching, lonely pain in your heart when you think about your family. How you can be a grown man and miss your family enough to make you cry but you can’t cry, because you’re in prison and trying not to get your ass kicked too much. I was not thinking that I would have all this time to sit and think. Would it have been better to do things different than I did? Yes, it would, but I really wasn’t thinking.