FOUR PROGRAMS FROM THE INSIGHT PRISON PROJECT OFFER OFFENDERS A TRANSFORMATIVE EXPERIENCE
San Quentin News, February 2013, page 3
By San Quentin News Staff
A new study says four San Quentin programs help criminal offenders become productive members of society when released from prison.
The findings focused on San Quentin’s Victim/Offender Education Group, Violence Prevention, Brother’s Keeper, and Yoga programs. They were studied by the National Council on Crime and Delinquency. The programs are a part of the Insight Prison Project, launched in 1997.
The 52-week Victim/Offender Education Group encourages offenders to take responsibility for the impact that their crime had on victims, communities, families, and themselves. As part of the program curriculum, prisoners
must be able to identify the harm their actions caused to victims, write a crime impact statement, participate in a victim-impact panel, and work on strengthening relapse-prevention
Prisoners learn yoga, with breathing techniques, which help them relax, helping curb stress and negative impulses.
The program also includes a 24-week Violence-Prevention program that focuses on identifying faulty thinking that leads to aggression. These classes are based on the idea that healthy thoughts can help diminish violent tendencies.
The Emotional Literacy component provides an environment so that prisoners may process harmful habits and change bad emotional habits into positive and long-lasting behavioral changes. It is intended to help prisoners move beyond seeing their incarceration as a meaningless and frustrating time, and to help them develop the motivation to transform their lives.
The Brothers’ Keepers program was founded in response to the 2005 suicide of a San Quentin prisoner. It is a 90- week course that trains a select group of prisoners, referred to as “peers,” in crisis resolution, mentoring, and suicide prevention techniques.
The study suggests that longer participation in IPP programming is associated with the desired cognitive behavioral outcomes and development of prosocial behavior. These behavior changes
have been shown to significantly reduce recidivism, according to a 2006 study by the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.
To read the February 2013 issue of the San Quentin News, please visit www.sanquentinnews.com.