Examples of Successful Prison Rehabilitation

by the Webmaster

April 11, 2013 10:45 pm

Correctional Facility! the best euphemism to describe a place where a violator of a state or nation’s laws is transferred serving a time to encounter conditions which some would compare to a gulag. But are they really trying to correct the behavior of the punished or are these places a way for a nation to flex its muscles since writers of these laws feel you are committing treason? Adding politics to that environment is not good; that is the biggest sign of nations steeping closer downhill. The problems of tensions between citizens and law enforcement always contained some element of politics and cops do not understand that they could encounter major legal backlashes. Sending these inmates for a time out in a dirty environment knowing that they would be more dangerous when they are released back into society proves that these western countries have always been the biggest threats to their national security.

All who fail to point out the source of  instability that breeds criminal activity will continue to have it in their presence. But what is even worse is that historically all groups who built countries and established kingdoms that still exist have fled persecution. Their ancestors are from countries who abuse people to get their point across and its oldest examples are traced back to religious persecutions. But this is a problem and why some would make these allegations about the  prison industrial complex being designed to boost the economy. Cheap labor does equal expensively made products so Americans cannot complain about illegal immigrants and prisoners taking their jobs; the newest smartphone or android being released is affordable for an obvious reason.


Americans do not realize that they feel the need to spy on their own people because they secretly feel this treatment called”rehabilitation” is creating new enemies and problems for them. This is common in completely decadent societies; the self indulgence of the privileged is of more concern which is why people never focus on the simplest ways to prevent crime instead they learn  how to cope with it. Jails do not prevent crime they are just coping mechanisms for society they deep down inside know that their government is not trying to quickly show them a life or most importantly an option unrelated to criminal activity. Hey governments around the world if torture and brutality is your system of reform congratulations you have just created more public support for legally ousting you from power, until then here are great examples of programs that would lessen the fears of more organized criminals and prison radicalization.

The saying “man’s best friend is a dog” is actually the most truthful statement once one focuses on the ills created from mankind. So for prisoners serving their sentence it is a perfect time to get reacquainted with mankind’s most trusted ally. The Project Pooch program founded in Oregon’s MacLaren youth correctional facility has a unique method of rehabilitating offenders. The Positive Opportunities, Obvious Change with Hounds or POOCH program accepts dogs from local shelters that have behavioral problems such as aggressiveness or excessive barking. Young offenders are required to take care of the dog for seven days a week, feeding them, walking them, and putting them through obedience training, until they can be given to families who want to adopt a dog. The procedure enforces responsibility and founders of the program noted that young offenders see the effect their behavior has on others and the change is witnessed.

Seenan, Gerard. “Unwanted Dogs Bring Criminals to Heel Man’s Best Friend Is Helping Reform Young Offenders and along with Cats, Research Shows, Giving Owners Better Health.” The Guardian. Guardian News & Media, 8 Oct. 2004. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.



Larch Correctional Facility in Yacolt, Washington has a program where local animal shelters supply stubborn cats to those who are incarcerated. The impact that a living creature is relying on the inmate’s life to take care of it has made  has Patience and trust besides the caring for others is what the inmates learn from the “Cuddly Catz” program.


Prison Powerlifting, I love it, in a prison where racial tension once existed, well it is a beautiful thing that the sport of Powerlifting is actually uniting all inmates. This will scare the prison industrial complex to where unions could be formed. Americans both civilians, police, and the military keep these tensions going. Once human beings all over the world began to suffer the same fate as the aboriginals that once inhabited the western hemisphere before settlement from Europeans and Africans, then your military might is no match for the human spirit Pentagon.

Prison Powerlifting

Activities that require any cooperation between people such as sports or any choreography will force others to put any difference aside and work together. It is a rehabilitative technique of quelling tension. Those groups of people who were once rivals will finally develop a relationship when they’re in a situation where they have to depend on each other. Vipassana is a form of meditation where one sees things as they really are; it is one of India’s most renowned meditation technique. It was rediscovered by Gotama Buddha more than 2500 years ago and it has made its way inside the prison walls of Donaldson Correctional Facility. Named after William E. Donaldson, a corrections officer who was slain inside the prison. Donaldson Correction Facility has a meditation program that is producing sanity amongst convicts.


“The Dhamma Brothers.” Yes Magazine. Positive Futures Network, 4 Nov. 2008. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.



Meditation methods and techniques have not only eliminated the stress that inmates deal with inside those walls but also reduced their violent tendencies. The hours of meditation forced convicted murderer Grady Bankhead him to accept responsibility for his crime and he found inner peace. Bankhead serving life without parole said: “I’ve been here for 25 years and this statement is going to sound crazy, but I consider myself the luckiest man in the world,” Bankhead, 60, said. For Ronald McKeithen, Vipassana became a tool for controlling his actions.”I had a lot of anger issues, and this has given me a way to deal with it,” said McKeithen, 48, serving life without parole for robbery. Vipassana courses have been taught in Indian prisons for decades and began in 2002 at Donaldson. The program was temporarily halted over concerns among some Christians that confused Vipassana for evangelical Buddhism, it resumed in 2006. About 380 state inmates have finished a Vipassana course, said Dr. Ronald Cavanaugh, who is now treatment director for the Alabama Department of Corrections. A Department of Corrections study of about 100 inmates who remained in custody in late 2007 found they had 20 percent fewer disciplinary actions after the course, Cavanaugh said.

Reeves, Jay. “Alabama Prison Meditation Helping, Officials Say.” San Francisco Chronicle. Hearst Communications Inc., 3 Feb. 2011. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.



Prison Entrepreneur Programs:

If an inmate is educated in business and marketing he or she would not only learn how to make money but also be forced to variate their will to find other ways to solve problems and effectively create solutions. These skills will help them build foundations once they will use all that time to invent a unique concept and hopefully use their newly acquired skills to invest and help them grow into productive members of society.


Inmates have invented many devices either to aid in their escape or kill each other. The guards probably love it because a dead prisoner provides more space for new violators of America’s laws. Their ingenuity they gained throughout the time spent inside prison could be swayed in a positive direction. Angelo, an convicted artist made drawings of inventions that prisoners have made and everything from homemade sex dolls, condoms, salt and shakers to chess sets. Go the website of Temporary Services and some of Angelo’s artwork and actual photos of the inventions are posted up.



Some would feel that this transition is not easy and would discard any program that could create such positive results and they are right. Societies that emphasize strong authoritarian principles have one thing in common; they all have a national religion. The powers that be are aware that religion is a tool to control the masses and the word religion is derived from the Latin word “religare” which means “bind.” The word is another a modified version of the latin religio or “combining form.” To tie back or restrain are other words that define religare and all religions never stress the idea of the “power within.” Americans preach freedom but just like all governments but its an illusion there are undesirables within the populace who feel they aren’t free. Civilizations who emphasize government role in the lives of people need one group of humans to look down just so their potential is overlooked; the biggest sign that governments around the world have no place in human society including the United States. The state often needs a national religion just to use as a last resort once its citizens began to find it hard to trust  anyone including those close to them. People who developed these mindsets are hard to control and manipulate; something that all rulers and kings have feared.


Prison Gardens Sustainable Prisons Project, a unique collaboration between Evergreen and the Washington State Department of Corrections that aims to “bring science and nature into prisons.” Operating in four of the state’s 15 prisons, the Sustainable Prisons Project has guest lectures and hands-on workshops for inmates on everything from green building to sustainable agriculture. Helping reduce the environmental impact of the prisons themselves with water conservation, organic farms, apiaries, and composting programs gives prisoners the opportunity to work on conservation programs that improve the ecosystem beyond the prison walls. In 2009, for example, offenders and staff at the Cedar Creek Corrections Center helped rear endangered Oregon spotted frogs boosting their numbers in the Puget Sound region. The Sustainable Prisons Project has been successful at reducing costs. “I don’t care if it’s power, water, fuel, energy—we’ve saved every way you measure it,” said a superintendent at Cedar Creek Corrections Center in Washington State, wanted to make his prison more cost effective. The program started in 2004 when Dan Pacholke,  Dr. Nalini Nadkarni, a forest ecologist at Evergreen State College in Olympia, suggested that he start by reducing the prison’s water use, and receiving assistance from hydrologist from Evergreen who helped him install low-flow toilets and a water catchment system.



Better ways of relating to other people:

Mandala Art Healing is helping to make the creation of “healthy prisons”. This recognizes the prisoners’ humanity and promotes self respect and a sense of responsibility; promotes good health; addresses factors associated with offending behavior; fosters family and community ties; enhances prisoners’ ability to lead autonomous, fulfilling and law-abiding lives in the community.

A reduced rate of re-offending:

Prisons regularly report that rates of offending within the institution by people involved in arts projects do decrease. Studies have shown a reduction of 58% in the number of offenses by the participants.

Reduction in recidivism: Studies have shown an 85% reduction of inmates returning who have taken art courses.

Improved attitudes and behavior: Research studies have shown that participants’ violent and hostile feelings reduce significantly in the months following art workshops.

Educational achievement: learning an art subject improved basic and key skills in art, history, critical, analytical thinking and technical abilities. Participation has had both direct and indirect benefits. An increase in writing or drawing skills is a direct benefit. Indirect benefits include learning how to work as a team, inner peace and calm, or increasing self-confidence.

Testimony from an inmate:

“Since learning to create healing mandalas, a lot of the clutter and garbage that has been clouding my rational thinking and logic has been slowly dissipating so that more of the inner light can shine through. I have noticed a deeper desire to care for those around me in a new way of understanding where they are, not just what I feel. The most prominent change I have noticed is a calmer self. Mandala Art Healing helps me to understand the pain that lingers deep within my heart and soul. I am learning to help others improve especially my family members, because to do so I also improve myself. This is my first mandala class and I have a feeling in my life that I have not had since my grandfather and my grandmother died. This is a class that I believe will help me in my life. The most prominent changes have been a dynamic turnaround in thought-to-be-lost relationships. There is something to be said of the intangible but undeniable energetic shift that takes place after a mandala is birthed.”


Prison Reiki:

Reiki, a simple hands-on method of stress reduction and relaxation has been inside the belly of the beast. Some of the men who were introduced to the Reiki program appeared hostile to Reiki instructor, Michelle McCarthy, the owner of The Heart to Heart Healing Connection. That didn’t stop her from pursuing her idea of rehabilitation and it wasn’t discouraging for McCarthy. At least her efforts help male prisoners become reacquainted with the outside realm. “Reiki Buddy Sessions” allow inmates to seek someone in their community willing to receive Reiki sessions.


Mediation programs:

Mediation programs, where one learns technique of conflict aversion are another tool of rehabilitation and at the Chowchilla State Prison in California, inmates who participated in the EPSS training, Peace Circles training, and Mediation training all grew into certified peacemakers. There has been no reported violence involving any inmates certified as peacemakers or mediators. Personal arguments have reportedly reduced in quantity and intensity. Our Peacemakers and Mediators have been able to de-escalate and resolve conflicts among fellow inmates and between inmates and staff.


The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) implemented peace education programs and according to testimonies from prison officials they have helped curb violence and aggression. All the Correctional Officers who open the doors to these people who are willing to spend their time to show your prisoners an alternative to beating or stabbing each other should also note that a reduction of riots would soon follow. Prem Rawat’s message is not affiliated with any religion, political views, ideology, or philosophy.

Here are the testimonials from COs (Correctional Officers):

Stephen J. Steurer, Executive Director, Correctional Education Association:”I first started working with members of The Prem Rawat Foundation (TPRF) in 2007. I have been very pleased to see their Peace Education Programs implemented in many prisons and jails in the United States and around the world. The Peace Education curriculum that TPRF has created is high quality, simple to understand, and non-denominational. The benefit that a person can gain from these classes is independent of their religious beliefs. I recommend this program to you as an effective means to help increase the harmony within individuals and the community in which you serve. This letter is simply my personal endorsement of the fine work that TPRF does.”

Robert Balli, Senior Warden, Dominguez State Jail, Texas:

“I am writing this letter in strong support for the Inner Peace Program at the Dominguez Unit in San Antonio, Texas. The successful teaching patterns of this program provided by these volunteers helps benefit the attitudes of offenders, assist in curbing their aggression and, helps them in making decisions. Also, offenders who have attended this program have had less disciplinary cases. The program also tracks offenders after they are released to monitor their progression or failure.”

Captain Lorenzo Carter, Head of Correctional Officers, Dominguez State Jail, Texas:

“I am writing to commend The Prem Rawat Foundation for your Inner Peace educational program. It has had a positive impact on everyone who attends the class.  The behavior of those who attend the program has noticeably improved, and their disciplinary record has gone way down, if not totally. They stay out of trouble. None of the offenders in the class creates problems in the facility.””I wanted to listen to this, too. It has shown a lot within me to make my life easier by understanding that you don’t have to be angry. It changed me; it changed the way I deal with my kids and my relationships with other people. It’s been a great,positive impact on me totally.”

Ana Urraca, Director of Chorrillos Annex Prison, Peru:

“The topics have been of vital importance for all of us, because in some way, we find the peace that we need and the meaning starts with ourselves. This inner peace allows you to be nicer, to exhibit your values in a more transparent way as to be able to project it towards other people. Inasmuch as we can do that, we will have a more peaceful society, and we will be able to interact within the frame of those values necessary in order to have a better life.”

Prison Social Worker, Peru:

“With this system in which we work in penitentiaries with people whose freedom has been taken away, it is a great advantage to be able to have these workshops [for Peace Education. For the inmates another window opens up, whereby they might find some sort of freedom, which every human being needs to be able to live. They can recognize that as humans they have made mistakes but can also see that they are endowed with qualities to keep going on with their lives, and can be useful individuals.”


The positive effects one could reach after 90 minutes of Hatha yoga practice. Yoga teacher James Fox has identified that most prisoners suffer from Complex Trauma, chronic interpersonal trauma encountered early in life such as: abandonment, bullying, discrimination, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse, hunger, homelessness, and sexual abuse; witnessing a crime was added to list of examples which he deemed “original pain.”


According to Fox, Prison Yoga is designed to help people shift unconscious behavioral patterns of reacting into conscious ways of responding by teaching individuals the skill of clearly witnessing their moment-to-moment experience.  Learning this fundamental behavioral shift can make the difference between a person committing a crime or not. It is this gradual building of awareness can help convicts acknowledge that they are participating in wrongdoings.

Excerpted from the site are the main components

The main components that constitute the practice are:

  • Learning to shift into a state of awareness by observing the present moment without the mind interpreting the experience.
  • Focusing on breathing through the nose while feeling accompanying sensations in the body.


Prison Hospice Programs:

Despairing emotions seem to be the signs of an individual who feels they lost their purpose or reason to pursue a fulfilling existence. Isolation and the lack of positive interaction from human contact has boosted these thoughts; solitary confinement, a common form of punishment in many prisons has functioned as a poison not an anecdote to quelling the violent tendencies of prisoners. That is why the promotion of healthy interaction that focuses on building compassion has shifted temperament’s of many violent felons. Men who are serving life sentences at the California Men’s Colony, in San Luis Obisopo, California received training from the Alzheimer’s Association to care for other prisoners suffering from the ailment.

Inmates are given thick manuals on dementia and that enables them to assist patients with the most intimate tasks: showering, shaving, applying deodorant, even changing adult diapers. The decision saves on medical costs for aging inmates whose brutal crimes make states reluctant to parole them and this violent history forces nursing homes to refuse their admission. These men are issued yellow jackets separating them from the general population who wear the standard-blue. Gold Coats are the name given to the group and they have filled in a position that is teaching them how to be benevolent. Cheryl Steed, a psychologist at the California Men’s Colony said “we wouldn’t be able to care for our dementia patients very well.”

Heriberto G. Sanchez, chief psychologist of the California Men’s Colony,noted of prisoners being appreciative that someone from the outside world thought they were human by allowing them to care for sensitive patients. One inmate wrote in an evaluation, “Thank you for allowing me to feel human.” The program isn’t always successful as one Gold Coat couldn’t tolerate the messy eating and other behaviors of dementia patients Dr. Hodel said. Inmates saw the Gold Goats as snitches when preventing them over. The promise of polishing one prison record and given a man sentence to life with the likelihood possibility of parole didn’t motivate others to join this program. Being aware of demented inmates throwing tantrums there is a chance that members of the Gold Coats will be physically assaulted. Inmates who were struck did not react over understanding that the man is senile and their trusts was ensured since a clean behavior for about 5 to 10 years is required to join. Two Gold Coats have received parole. One of them, Shawn Henderson, who got 25 years to life for a 1985 double murder and was twice denied parole, was released last February.

“National Prison Hospice Association.” National Prison Hospice Association. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2013. <http://npha.org/&gt;.


These programs and workshops that educate inmates on techniques to induce inner peace will have an impact in the future. However, it appears that there are Correctional Officers who do not want any harmony and solidarity in these jails and prisons. Prisoners in Pelican Bay State correctional facility’s Security Housing Unit (SHU) have announced a push to end all hostilities between racial groups within California’s prisons and jails. The handwritten announcement was sent to prison advocacy organizations. Signed by several prisoners, identifying themselves as the PBSP-SHU Short Corridor Collective. The prisoners are aware that the authorities use ethnicity and race to prolong tensions inside so they all united and made a demand for peace. An excerpt from the letter reads; “We can no longer play into IGI, ISU (Investigative Service Unit), OCS (Office of Correctional Safety) and SSU’s (Service Security Unit’s) old manipulative divide and conquer tactics!”

Ontiveros, Isaac. “California Prisoners Make Historic Call to End Hostilities between Racial Groups in California Prisons and Jails | San Francisco Bay View.” San Francisco Bay View. San Francisco Bay View, 12 Sept. 2012. Web. 11 Apr. 2013.



All of these articles reflect one thing…peace can be created but Americans and other Neo- Colonial powers along with their European cohorts want strife. All of these true stories of prison rehabilitation have one thing in common; all of the instructors of these programs have volunteered their time to help these inmates. Correctional officers and others wanted these inmates to suffer; westerners have this elitist mindset which caused them to have such extreme arrogance. They were quick to judge Saddam Hussein when he tortured Iraqis he jailed on suspicion that they were informants meanwhile these same forms of punishment occur in American prisons all the time. What makes it worse is these stories of prisoners having their attitudes changes through peaceful methods are what is repulsive to the same Americans who slam a dictator for his brutality.

Kelly, Jack. “Iraqis Pour out Tales of Saddam’s Torture Chambers.” USA Today. Gannett Co. Inc., 13 Apr. 2003. Web. 11 Aug. 2013.



Watch the documentary released in the United Kingdom

Torture – America’s Brutal Prisons


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