Men’s circles to bring down the walls
The Jericho Circle Project is a non-profit 501 (c)(3) organization that brings men’s work to offenders and ex-offenders in institutional and community settings. Incorporated in 2002, the project introduces incarcerated men to the work of self-discovery and emotional growth through weekly and weekend circles. JCP volunteers have been facilitating men’s circles in county, state and federal correctional institutions since September, 2001. Currently, the project operates weekly circles in four correctional institutions in Massachusetts and has mentored the development of similar programs in Wisconsin and Texas. Hundreds of men have sat in weekly Jericho Circles since 2001 and 15 weekend intensive workshops have been held at federal and state correctional institutions. Through its programs of facilitator training and service learning, JCP has supported the expansion of volunteer services in correctional settings in Massachusetts and beyond.
What are Jericho Circles?
The project creates circles to help men become more aware of connections between what they feel, believe, say and do. As men involved with the criminal justice system see themselves more clearly, they develop a deeper understanding of how their personal pain and struggles have taken them off course and caused pain to others. Through guided group processes and training in emotional literacy and communication, men build the skills necessary to re-vision and reinvent interrupted and misguided lives. The project empowers offenders and former offenders by breaking down the walls that separate them from themselves and others. Once the walls begin coming down and the masks fall away, men can redirect their lives toward greater commitment, self-awareness, and responsibility. JCP assists men who have broken the law to face difficult truths about themselves so they can identify and pursue more productive directions in their lives.
The project seeks to develop a national network of facilitators and mentors, as well as standardized curricular materials and support services to assist offenders in federal, state and county institutions, and community settings. We focus on three broad target areas:
- The organization and implementation of men’s circles in correctional institutions
- The creation of intensive workshops (2-3 days) for incarcerated men
- The preparation of men to pursue lives of integrity, connection and awareness in their relationships, families and communities
Jericho circles offer practical techniques and experiential training to help men unlock the doors to their feelings, communicate clearly and become more whole. The JCP approach is based on evidence-based practices that support the development of congruence between thinking, emotional states and actions in the world. The search for inner truth and life direction are the cornerstones of the work. Through experience in Jericho Circles, men are encouraged to see themselves and others clearly, own their choices and take down the internal walls that stand in the way of living meaningful and responsible lives.