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  1. Mike Corson shares his experience working with inmates through Jericho Circle

    Mike Corson shares his experience working with inmates through Jericho Circle from Scott Indermaur on Vimeo.

  2. Steve Stanley Testimonial

  3. Charlie Young Testimonial

  4. David Roelant Testimonial

  5. Charles DeVries Testimonial

  6. Larry Cotton Testimonial

  7. Bob St. Sauveur Testimonial

  8. Vern Ludwig Testimonial

  9. Joe LoPorto Testimonial

  10. Steve Spitzer testimonial

  11. Paul Fortier – testimonial

  12. W’s Return

    According to the mythologist Joseph Campbell, many ancient cultures had initiation ceremonies usually consisting of four stages: Separation, Descent, Ordeal and Return.  The intention of these ceremonies was sacred; i.e to help the young person navigate the difficult internal and external transitions from child to adult and member of family to contributing member of community.  This is the story of W’s initiation, one which had the four stages of a traditional initiation, but lacked a sacred intention.  In other words, it was a flawed initiation, and in that respect, his is a story common to our modern world.

    We could say that W experienced the first three stages of initiation when he was arrested (Separation), tried, convicted and sentenced to prison (Descent and Ordeal).  The fourth stage (Return), began in prison and continues to this day.  It is worth noting that for most men released from prison, their Return stage is so severely flawed that it resembles more a revolving door than a passage.  For someone to successfully negotiate this treacherous transition is a testament to the man and to the resources that support his return.  Here are some reflections from Jeffrey Goldwasser, a key support person, and from W.

    From Jeffrey Goldwasser and Steve Martin
    “In March of 2010, I received an email through the Jericho Project about being a community contact for a man who was being released from prison in Massachusetts after 17 years incarceration.   I agreed to the request thinking it would be some time down the road. To my surprise, I received a call 2 days later from the prison psychologist telling me that the man would be released in two days and would travel by bus directly to North Carolina. The psychologist told me the man’s name was W and that he wanted me to know why he had been sentenced to prison. Upon hearing this information, I hesitated, but decided that I would meet him and see what happened.

    A few days later, I received a call from W telling me he had arrived.  I encouraged him to find a motel, let me know where he was, and I would come by in the morning. The next day I met W at the motel and we began what has become a very special relationship.  At that first meeting, we talked for a while at the motel and went out to breakfast to get to know each other.  I immediately realized this man who had spent seventeen years in prison had a level of emotional intelligence that I believed would serve him well in his return to the free world.  I thought it was remarkable that W looked me in the eye, owned his feelings, shared his story, and started to trust me – a man he had only known a few hours.  As the days went by, I realized that I wanted a group of men to help support W.  I made this request to my local ManKind Project (MKP) community telling them what I had learned about W and asking for support.  Several men came forward and we formed “W’s Team”, a band of brothers dedicated to his successful return to the free world.  This band has helped with survival needs, including food, shelter and clothing, but also with belonging and friendship.  In addition, many others have supported W in making a successful transition to life outside of prison; the local VA hospital, his social workers, his psychologist, and his probation officer to name a few. And the Jericho Project was a vital prerequisite and crucial link to any of this happening.

    Ten months after his release, W has a safe place to live, a good job, appropriate social services, and a strong support network.  He has become an active and valued member of his MKP and work communities.   All that  being said if, it weren’t for W himself, who he is and who he is becoming, his commitment to living a life of integrity, honesty and openness, his transition would likely have failed—as it has for so many people released from prison.  And I personally would have missed out on knowing this beautiful man who has blessed my life in countless ways.”

    From W:
    “When I first went to Jericho Circle, I didn’t know what to expect. I was reluctant to be open and share about myself. But when I saw that the other inmate men and the men that came in were open, I began to feel safe. Safety for me was a big issue. I felt accepted which was something I had been looking for for a long time. This helped me trust men again. Due to some events that happened in my childhood, I had lost trust in men. Jericho helped me to start to be the man that I wanted to be. That is a man of integrity, honesty and being open. They helped me to relearn the importance of commitment.

    When I was about to be released from prison, I shared with my men’s circle, that I was scared because I had no where to go, no home and no money.  One of the outside men got me in touch with a Massachusetts JCP man who in turn put out a post or email to our local MKP community and informed them about a man who was being released from prison. A man responded, Jeffrey Goldwasser, and said he would be a contact for me. The day after I was released from prison I called this man and we met.

    If it hadn’t been for that man who got in touch with my Massachusetts contact man and responded, and if it wasn’t for the contact men himself sending that email, I don’t know where I would be right now except possibly dead.

    The brothers who came in to the prison where I was were so accepting, non-judging, warm, loving and caring. I am so grateful for their commitment to go inside prisons to see men like me who made a large mistake and who wanted to change into becoming a better man.


  13. New Story #1

    The point of my new story is to use my garbage to help others. The seed of evil was exposed, as a child being hurt, rejected, deprived. Under years and layers of numbness is the seed of evil. In that seed is hate, anger, hurt, shame. Not a good seed of emotions. Unless like any seed I need to let it grow, take a breath. This happened to me today. My old story, all the garbage today in my dump; in my new story I see reality. I grew up with two of me, the man that tried to do good and the child that never felt good. What I lost the most, the value of life that is what I lost. Today I have found this value in me, I do matter, I do count. I have learned in order to do this work and keep working, I have to be willing to tune into channels I never knew existed. Today, I have started to find one essence of my soul. I lost reverence, what is it? Reverence is engaging in a form of depth of contact with life, that is well beyond the shell of form and into essence, it is contact with the interior of its being-ness and attitude of honoring life.

  14. New Story #2

    Before today, I could not forgive myself for the hurt, harm, and destruction I have caused family, friends and community. However, today, I began a journey in which I achieved a process of releasing personal hostilities, disbeliefs and learned behaviors. This has enabled me to slowly begin the process of personal forgiveness. Through the Circle process, I am safe from abuse, antagonism, and harm. I am now aware of who I was and who I am today. Most importantly how I want to live my life and interact with community. I alone hold the power to forgive myself. My new mission statement in life is: a man among men, I develop a world of respect and dignity by loving.

  15. New Story #3

    I have learned that God doesn’t make junk. I am a human being who has feelings and emotions. I have learned that life does not have to be fi lled with anger, rage, and pain. It is okay to feel good, it is okay to feel love, it is okay to have an opinion and to voice it.

    It is okay to seek and receive forgiveness. There is nothing in my old life and in my new life that I can not be forgiven for, forgiving others and ourselves is good. In my new life it is okay to be me and not what people want me to be, I am no longer the yes man.

    It is okay to express love via a hug or by a spoken word. It is okay that I fall on my ass and to get back up and go forward. In my new life I am free from the pain of my past, it is okay to cry. I am not John Wayne nor do I want to be. It is okay  to be me, caring, loving and at peace inside.  No more do I consider myself a failure. My new life is a learning event on a daily basis. My new life is exciting and fi lled with many new things to learn and see and do. I now have a love for life that I never had before. I am learning to trust, trust is the key I will use to open doors. That Is My New Life.

  16. New Story #4

    Jericho Circle has helped me to see that I can be more positive in the world and to others. I can be a beacon of light that can help others see with a clean sense of direction in their life struggles and sense of being along. This past weekend has given me a sense of knowing that I can help someone who has experienced growing up without a father.
    I have learned to process and express my feelings in a way that allows my inner child to grow with unconditional love, one that will continuously love and nurture. Jericho Circle has also allowed me to have a vision, one that I never realized. I can be assured that starting today, I can give my medicine to the people who are lost and misdirected in their lives; a positive beacon to follow and not be afraid of being lost or lonely.

  17. New Stories

    During an intensive weekend at Bay State Correctional Center, inmates had the opportunity to write “new stories” about themselves. These new stories were the result of their discovery of a place inside from which to move forward in their lives. At the core of these insights, was their discovery of greater compassion, self-understanding and the value of “giving back” to their communities. Four of these stories are included above: