Insight Prison Project Programs
IPP’s programs focus on a socialization process, a process of transformational re-education that is designed to bring about a shift in ingrained patterns of harmful and destructive behavior, enable incarcerated people to make life-enhancing choices, and then integrate them into lasting, positive behavior.
IPP pushes cognitive behavioral work beyond an isolated mental process and invites participants in our programs to integrate cognitive learning with an awareness of how thoughts, impulses and actions manifest physically and emotionally. A pioneer in the field of Restorative Justice, IPP offers VOEG as a cornerstone 52+ week curriculum that positively affects rates of institutional violence, successful reentry into communities, and individual health and well-being -- a rare application supported by crime victims and community volunteers and wholly relevant as a response to our statewide prison healthcare crisis and to the personal mental health needs of inmates, parolees, and crime survivors.
IPP programs have been replicated in 15 California state men’s prisons, three women’s correctional venues in California and Oregon, and Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles.
VICTIM OFFENDER DIALOGUES (VOD)
These are face-to-face meetings between a victim and his or her offender, which are facilitated by a highly trained IPP staff mediator. A VOD provides victims of severe crime an opportunity to have a structured meeting with their offender(s) in a secure and safe environment in order to facilitate a healing process.
VICTIM OFFENDER EDUCATION GROUP (VOEG)
Each group is facilitated by an IPP staff member or highly trained volunteer, as well as an inmate peer facilitator. VOEG is an intensive 18-month group program for inmates who wish to understand themselves better, how their life experiences and decisions led them to prison and how their crimes have impacted their victim(s). The purpose of the training is to help offenders understand and take responsibility for the impact of the crime(s) they have committed. The class ends with participants meeting a panel of victims for a healing dialogue.
FACILITATOR AND LEADERSHIP TRAININGS
Prisoners who have successfully completed VOEG and Next Step are provided intensive trainings to become skilled peer facilitators of VOEG.
COMPLEMENTARY COURSE OFFERINGS
Next Step: This group is for prisoners who have graduated from the initial intensive VOEG program, who wish to continue the work of implementing and practicing the tools they have learned and apply them to their every day lives with each other, family and friends. Participants make a one year commitment to this program and are often called on to participate in dialogues and trainings with victims, victims rights groups, universities and other individuals and institutions wanting to learn about the VOEG process and restorative justice in corrections. Those who complete this year long commitment step up to become Stewards of VOEG. This program also invites the participants to give something back to their community in one way or another.
Acting with Compassion & Truth (ACT): This is a groundbreaking class—the first of its kind in the country—that consists of straight, gay, and transgender prisoners exploring critical issues of sexuality and gender identity, while building and expressing empathy for one another.
Inside Circle: This group creates environments in which prisoners can work and explore the issues in their lives that have prevented them from living up to their full potential. It primarily utilizes self-help discussion groups and creative writing techniques (such as journaling, autobiography, and poetry) to achieve the inner development necessary to become healthy contributing members of our society.
Men Creating Peace: This program offers an in-depth study into transforming violent behavior by helping participants to understand the origins of their anger, and then develop skills to track and manage strong impulses before acting on them. The ManAlive course is a Certified Domestic Violence Program.
The Work: This is a cognitive restructuring class wherein students learn to employ critical thinking to become aware of “self-talk” and to re-frame thinking errors that impact one’s emotional well-being and behavior. Based on the work of Bryon Katie and the notion that much of one’s thinking if left unexamined can be distorted or faulty, and what causes anger, upset or depression is most often how a person views and interprets circumstances.
Brothers’ Keepers - Crisis Intervention Training: Prisoners are professionally trained and certified in crisis intervention and become part of a skilled response team. Members serve as peer-intermediaries for fellow inmates who are suicidal or experiencing a mental health crisis that may otherwise go unnoticed.
San Quentin Artistic Ensemble: The San Quentin Artistic Ensemble collaborates in creating original works of movement, music and theater. Through an intensive creative process, participants reflect upon their lives and communities, using their ideas and feelings to develop the work.
KidC.A.T.: This group consists of "juvenile lifers," serving up to life in prison with the possibility of parole for murders committed while under the age of 18. The group calls itself KidCAT. "Kid" refers to the age when the men committed their crimes. CAT stands for Creating Awareness Together. With the help of IPP staff and volunteers, KidCat has designed a 24-week curriculum that its members are teaching to more than 80 fellow inmates.
Veterans Healing Veterans: VHV is a group that works to heal wounds that can result in suicide and incarceration among our nation's warriors.
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