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Transformational Living

June 7, 2012

Transformational Living

By Davin J. Douma

            The goal is the creation of a multi-faceted approach to personal transformation involving multiple agencies and resources.  The perfect model is one that addresses the needs of both violent and non-violent prisoners, serving both short and long-term sentences.  We are talking about behavior modification, substance abuse therapy, reintegration, education & vocational skills training, victim mediation, and restitution.  Part of the effort will also be focused on sentencing reform and focusing attention on alternatives to the modern correctional system.

The following individual programs can be blended into a single, on-going approach to personal transformation.

Behavior Modification Program        A program which addresses the way prisoners see themselves and the world around them.  An encounter group approach with a coordinator who uses the Socratic Method of enabling participants to reach their own conclusions about their behavior.  Their recognition that a problem exists is the springboard to changing the way they think.

Victim Identification Program           Who are the people who are injured by criminal acts?  What are their stories and what is the impact of crime in their lives?  This program would bring small groups of victims into the institution to educate prisoners on the effects of their actions.  In comparison to Victim Mediation, no specific victim/perpetrator meetings are sought.  Instead the prisoner is encouraged to see the effects of crime generally, and then transpose those stories to their own personal situation, imagining their impacts on victims.  This program would sensitize prisoners to the personal effects of their actions.

Scholarship Program                          Education is the one statistically proved rehabilitation program.  Soliciting support and funding for higher education from schools, organizations, and civic minded individuals.  If the federal and state government will not assist prisoners in attaining funding for college educations, private groups will.  The purpose of the program is to generate scholarship programs for inmates.

Social Restitution Program                Individuals would participate in speak-out type programs focusing on youth and crime prevention.  Specifically focusing on behaviors, attitudes, and cultural ideas which enable youth to become enmeshed in criminal life styles.  Prisoners would be confronting the ideas, myths, and romantic ideals of criminal behavior.

Vocational Training                           Vo-Tech skills focused on professions and fields open to ex-offenders.  Including entrepreneurial skills and small business development.

Volunteer/Reintegration Program     The underlying premise is to create a program by which long-term offenders do volunteer work in the local community.  For example, prisoners who possess certain skills (such as a plumber) would do work for the poor, elderly, or disenfranchised.   The prisoners in the program would be men and women who have served at least ten years on their sentence, have at least five years clear conduct, and no sex offenders.

Each program would be initiated independently but as an element of a larger whole.  The focus of Transformational Living is on the individual and a self-actualized approach.  Only those who request to participate will be allowed to do so.  No prisoner would be forced into the program.  No good time would be awarded.  The rewards of the Transformational Living program would be manifested in the prisoner’s life.

Assistance would be sought from the following groups and entities.

Politicians:

Legislative

Executive

                                    Department of Corrections

                                                Wardens

                                                Reintegration Specialists

                                    Department of Education

                                                General Equivalency Diploma

                                                Vocational Skills

                                                Higher Education

                                    Law Enforcement

                                                Drug Enforcement

                                                Gang Specialists

                                    Prosecutors

                                    Judicial

Judges

                                                Drug Courts

                                    Department of Human Services

                                                Reintegration

                                    Department of Mental Health

Probation and Parole

                                                Parole Board

                                                Parole Officers

                                                Probation Officers

Copyright 2010. Davin J. Douma

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