Pre-Release Programs – Inside Prisons
I do not believe that sheer suffering teaches.
If suffering alone taught, all the world would be wise.
- Anne Morrow Lindbergh
2.3% of children under the age of 18 are growing up with an incarcerated parent.
Working toward our mission of reducing recidivism, Reentry Bridge Network, Inc. (RBN) holds workshops and classes within the prison system across Ohio.
These classes focus on helping incarcerated individuals to achieve a shift in their cognitive belief, as well as develop some vocational skills in preparation for reentry.
Drawing on programmatic best practices that recognize principled assessment and domain-centered programs as being key to successful reentry, and recognizing the impact of family engagement on the reduction of criminogenic factors, RBN has embraced a strength-based, family-focused approach to achieving successful pathways for offenders who are transitioning from prison to community. This family case management approach builds on family strength and support, therefore reducing recidivism and reinforcing the family unit.
RBN continually strives to grow a national base of speakers, teachers and facilitators who are available to facilitate workshops that support RBN goals for healthier prisons, reduced recidivism, and thriving communities.
Reentry Initiative Prison Programs
RBN is committed to effectively reduce recidivism by bridging the communication and education gap between prisoners and the communities they are being released into. The methodology is visible and accessible networking and programs centered in reentry needs.
The Art of Trauma: Grief Impairment
Grief that gets stuck in the heart turns into anger. Anger drives recidivism. The art of altered books is introduced as a tool to examine and process grief and loss.
Trauma-Informed Care addresses what happened to the child; the fact they had no coping skills or effective mentoring to move through the trauma; and the acting out that followed. The grief-impairment is therefore identified and art is the way of moving through it. This is a 20 week, certificated, hands-on class using the Grief Recovery Handbook and the expressive art media of altered books.
The Empowerment of Socio-Metaphysics
Graduation Day. Pictured: Carol Briney; Andrew Hackett-Bey, Program Coordinator, Prisoner; Khelleh Konteh, ODRC No. Reg. Dir.
The course examines society’s ideas and the successful interaction of the metaphysics of self within societies. In other words, we examine social structure, individual core beliefs, and how they might interact, identifying more life choices to select from. Sociology, science, theology, philosophy, history, psychology, and anthropology are utilized to examine the core beliefs and to encourage awareness and deductive reasoning. This is a certificated 16-week course, designed and facilitated as a team effort with RBN staff and prisoners as a reentry bridging initiative. Prisoners can be certified to instruct this course.
RBN Excellence Program
There are two phases to the RBN Excellence program. This is Phase I. Students matriculate through the program, in class order. They are taught by prisoners, interns, guest speakers, and RBN staff. Every 8 weeks another 30 students enter the seven class matriculating program.
1. IPP – Introduction to Prison Programming, 8 weeks:
This program is the foundation to education, communication, and how to make the most of prison time.
2. Literacy of Daily Living in Community, 8 weeks: This program provides basic grass roots daily living skills upon which the RBN Excellence Program builds.
3. Financial Peace University – Dave Ramsey, 13 weeks: Practical, functional financial literacy for successful living
4. Empowerment of Socio-metaphysics, 13 weeks: Uses ology theories to learn deductive reasoning & to grow self value
5. Understanding Poverty – Ruby Payne, 16 weeks: A critical study of the class system and how to lift oneself out of negative life cycles.
6. Advanced Socio-Metaphysics, 16 weeks: More experiential and expanded look at topics discussed in class 4.
7. Art of Trauma: Grief-Impairment, 18 weeks: Trauma-Informed care and the art of altered books are combined to process grief and loss so individuals can work towards better health.
Phase II builds on the student skills developed in Phase I and adds computer skills, entrepreneurial development and mentoring, community agriculture, topic art workshops, and DSL training. This is an intensive reintegration program.
Analysis of the Evolution of Religion Inside Male Prisons, as a Predictor of Recidivism
Carol Briney leading a class discussion with prisoners
This discussion group was created to prove a graduate paper by the same name. Prisoners filled out a 28-page questionnaire. The discussions occurred over a four-month period, in four-hour sessions. Though the sociology paper had received an A+, the 12 participating prisoners proceeded to dissect and disagree with most all of the social constructs and theories, and made good sense in their analogy. The beauty of bantering with male prisoners on this level is that they tend to think on so many more dimensions than we on the outside do. Their approach and perspective has been dramatically altered by the prison experience; that great value is found in their conclusions and questions. It was the final consensus of the group that the paper had no real value in its content, and the author, Carol E. Briney, concurred.
Reentry Networking Class
The purpose of this class is to brainstorm, discuss, and formulate ideas that are realistic and beneficial for state and national reentry programs and networking. The class is limited to 25 students and meets for three hours. This reentry initiative is an example of bottom-up thinking.
Mentoring Through Erudition
In a structured classroom setting, inmates instruct other inmates in subjects that they themselves have spent years researching and studying. Classes average 15-20 students and provide educational, vocational, and mentoring opportunities for participants. This program is set up and run similar to a mini-college inside the prison. The number of classes held during a semester is dependent on availability of classroom space in a prison. Some classes run 10 weeks, and others 20 weeks. Example: if a prison has seven rooms available for one day a week, we will average 20 different courses for a semester, having two time slots to teach in, averaging 250 students who will graduate with a certificate for the class they completed.
Prisoner Publication Center (PPC)
Manuscripts are sent to RBN from national incarcerated authors. The selected manuscripts are typed, edited, illustrated, and produced by the team of inmates who work in the PPC center inside one of Ohio’s state prisons. The finished books are available through Amazon.com.
Prison Library Partnership
The shelves of prison libraries are being filled with books that are donated from universities, groups, and individuals through RBN.