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  1. Featured Research on the Work of JCP and Allied Organizations

    Unlocking Men: Men’s Circles in Prison

    by David R. Karp

    Despite mounting evidence of the effectiveness of correctional programs (MacKenzie, 2006; Cullen & Gendreau, 2000), offenders are woefully underserved. Two- thirds of all prisoners are released without any vocational or educational training; 75% have alcohol or substance abuse problems, but only 25% receive treatment while incarcerated (Petersilia, 2003, p. 93). Successful reentry is rare. Sixty-seven percent of former inmates are rearrested within three years of release, and 52% are reincarcerated (Petersilia, 2003, p. 140).

    Members of a large voluntary men’s organization called the ManKind Project have observed the dearth of prison programming, and some have responded by volunteering in prisons and offering an innovative program model. One program was developed in 1999 at Folsom Prison in California. In 2002, a second program followed in Massachusetts. A third, called the TRUTH Project, began in 2006 in Wisconsin.

    For the Full Article see “Resources/Articles” on this Site

  2. Poems by Inside Men and Facilitators

    PAIN INTO PAPER (Added 1/11/13)

    Penitentiary poets

    Pouring pain into paper

    Cause from the drama of prison life

    Writing is our Savior.

    So we scribe what for years

    We were too tough to say.

    Praying these verses will somehow

    Help us get through the day.

    So as the page soaks up ink

    The words heal our souls

    Our hearts begin to soften

    And no longer remain ice cold.

    Through our writing, our pain

    May save another man.

    Its true, from here we can’t do much

    But it’s a must we do what we can

    So that maybe, just maybe

    The outside world will finally see

    That we can be productive citizens

    If they would just set us free.

    So painful piece after piece

    Of our souls we reveal

    Digging down to the darkest depths

    So we can feel what we feel.

    We are overflowing with remorse

    And drowning in regret

    Living daily with such scars

    That we will never forget.

    Still year in and year out

    We forge ahead behind these walls

    Somehow and someway finding ways to stand tall.

    Even though everything we once lived for

    Is now lost to us forever

    We continue to push on

    And against all odds hold it together.

    Refusing to be broken

    Although at times we may bend

    Once robbers and murderers

    We now lay claim to being men.

    Where we were once young and dumb

    We’re now older and semi-wise

    With the pains of the past

    Evident when you look in our eyes.

    Man might have made money

    But money misleads many a man

    Causing chaos and corruption

    Constantly from clan to clan

    Where and when we will wizen up,

    Your guess is as good as mine

    Rabble-rousers are running rampant

    Some of us here recognizing the sign.

    So desperate daddy’s daily dedicate

    Our lost lives to little lads and lasses

    Hoping heartfelt honesty helps to heal

    And encourage our seeds to get A’s in classes.

    Knowing no matter what we do

    That we can’t erase the past

    Or give back those precious years

    We took away from them so fast.

    Behind bars both battered and blue

    But boldly becoming braver

    As we pour out our pain

    Into the lines on this paper.

    The Call of the Crack

    Each of my cracks

    cracks of my brokenness…

    has a moment, an emotion

    and a personality.

    Each clamors to breach the light

    To be seen, to be heard.

    I feel the echo of time ringing

    in my soul, my spirit…

    A cacophony of sounds, of smells,

    invade the space in which I live.

    I struggle to balance in the breach

    to hold fast to who I am…

    I am a cracked, broken and

    beautiful vessel, a man broken and

    whole at the same time, glimpses

    of moments, photographs in the mind

    that create the man, the Warrior, the little

    boy, and the sage of this soul.

    Forgiveness answers the call of the crack,

    and one becomes whole.

    The Arrival

    What would I be if I would be
    the man that lives inside of me?
    How could I see if I was blind?
    When would I know when I’d arrived?
    Where would I flee to escape from time
    to break the chains that bond my mind?

    No feet, no knees, no legs to walk
    No tongue, no mouth, no voice to talk.
    With arms so short and hands so small
    How could I reach to climb the wall?

    My name is spoke, I hear it clear
    Though I have no drums inside my ears.
    My heart still beats though it is stone.
    My blood still flows though it is cold.

    I breathe in deep, there is no air.
    I exhale quick, release my fear.
    It floats away up to the clouds.
    I smell the rain, it showers down.

    My skin feels pain, but there is none.
    I close my eyes, I see the sun
    and lavender skies I’ll leave behind,
    The cool sea breeze, the ocean’s tide.

    Divine intervention helps me survive.
    I only know how, I don’t know why.
    What could I be if I would see
    The gifts of sights epiphany?

    I open my eyes and see the signs
    To weaken the chains and break their bind.
    I choose to live, I live to shine.
    I’ve freed my mind, I’ve now arrived.

  3. Vipassana Meditation in Prisons

    Vipassana Meditation in Prisons; In March 1993, a woman named Kiran Bedi became Inspector General of the Tihar Jail in New Delhi, the largest prison in India holding nearly 10,000 inmates. In her search for a technique of rehabilitation which would not only prepare her inmates for a sucessful return to society but also render the prison environment more peaceful and harmonious, she learned about Vipassana and its prior use in prisons. The first 10 day Vipassana course was taught within the Tihar Jail in 1994. Many other courses followed for both men and women, including a course for over 1,000 inmates, one of the largest courses ever held in modern times. Vipassana courses are currently being held in three U.S. correctional facilities: the W. E. Donaldson Correctional Facility, a level 6 maximum-security state prison in Bessemer, Alabama, near Birmingham; the San Francisco Jail, which was very successful; and the North Rehabilitation Facility (N.R.F.) a minimum-security facility of the King County jail system in Seattle, Washington. The Dhamma Brothers, an independent  film about the development of  meditation in an Alabama maximum security prison, debuted in 2008.

  4. For Men Returning to the Community

    Jericho Circle contact Information:

    • E-mail: info@jerichocircle.org
    • Telephone: (617) 576-1066
  5. Facilitator Training

    Jericho Circles is offering training seminars and modules to current and new facilitators, to enable men to become involved in weekly facilitation of our circles.

    These pages will provide information on upcoming training opportunities. You may also  contact Jericho Circle at:

    • E-mail: info@jerichocircle.org
    • Telephone: (617) 576-1066
  6. Two worlds
    [audio:two_worlds.mp3]

    “Write the Transcription here.”

  7. The truth
    [audio:the_truth.mp3]

    “Write the transcription here.”

  8. Not much changes
    [audio:not_much_changes.mp3]

    “Write the transcription here.”

  9. Make a difference
    [audio:make_a_difference.mp3]

    “Write the content of the quote here.”

  10. Can’t believe
    [audio:cant_believe.mp3]

    “Write the transcription of the quote here”

  11. 39 Years …
    [audio:39_yrs.mp3]

    “Write the transcription of the quote here”

  12. the mirror of those men’s eyes

    staff3Walking into a prison, hearing the doors clang shut, sitting with a bunch of convicts … I looked into the mirror of those men’s eyes … the rage, victim, and the perpetrator all there before me … in me …

  13. these men deserve to reclaim their humanity

    staff2I figure if what we do as free men doesn’t work here, we are kidding ourselves. It is working. These men deserve to reclaim their humanity, passion, respect, emotions – everything – as much as any of us.

  14. for the safety and sanity of the world

    staff1I’ve seen many men cry, touch each other, share from the gut and the heart. To witness men inside prison opening in these ways, despite the harsh training to stay closed and tough … has brought me a hope and joy for the goodness and resilience in men – and for the safety and sanity of the world I live in.

  15. affirm the spirit in life

    staff3All I truly have in my life is time and my legacy will be how I use that time. Prison time is helping me make the choices that affirm the Spirit in Life.

  16. “Unlocking Men: Men’s Circles in Prison”

    David R. Karp, Ph.D.

    Skidmore College

    This article is based on research by the author on men’s circles in prison.  It focuses on men’s work done in three programs: Jericho Circles (Massachusetts), Inside Circles (Folsom Prison in Sacramento, California) and the T.R.U.T.H. Project in Wisconsin. It appears in the Offender Programs Report (Vol. 12, No. 5) Jan/Feb, 2009

    karp-unlocking-men

  17. Reaching Men in the Shadows: Men’s Circles in a Prison Setting

    by Steven Spitzer, PhD
    Suffolk University

    Published in the SPSMM Bulleting of the American Psychological Association, Fall 2002 Edition
    Editor: Holly Sweet

    Over the last year, I have organized and facilitated two weekly men’s groups at a Federal Prison in Massachusetts. With the support of a team of six men skilled in the techniques developed through the Mankind Project (see Barton, 2000), we have offered these inmate groups (8–10 men) a variety of skills and experiences. The groups were established to create opportunities for self-reflection, trust building, and the development of emotional literacy for incarcerated men.
    The difficulties men face in identifying and expressing their feelings are well documented (Real, 1997; Pittman, 1993; Pollock, 2000). Prison environments, with their emphasis on toxic masculinity, power, hierarchy, and the inmate code (Sabo et al., 2001), put men at even greater risk of disconnection. The institutional setting rewards stoicism, toughness, and detachment from feeling. Incarcerated men must “wear the mask” if they are to survive with respect to either the inmate subculture or the prison staff. Our prison groups endeavor to take off “the mask” so men can begin to address their deepest wounds.

    (more…)

  18. Prison II

    Dead latch hums, disengages,

    Steel door growls against its track.
    Pass.
    Drives shut, pawl clicks in.

    Badges, heavy belt, radio,
    Pendulous keys, chain, clipboard,
    Crew cut, scrubbed skin,
    Watchful eyes, straight back, taut arms.

    Footfalls echo, spotless vinyl,
    Bright lit glare,
    Blank walls, hard edges,
    Bars, gate, thick glass.

    Scrub grass,
    High fence, straight lines,
    Concrete, steel,
    Gray light, cold wind.

    High cameras,
    Huddled men, hushed voices,
    Uniforms, empty hands,
    Silence.

    Standing, waiting, bare halls,
    Locked in, locked out.
    “ Attention on the compound…”
    Rules, numbers, repetition.

    Black fear, stoop shouldered
    Red anger, black veiled
    White reality, open faced
    Orange-bright courage, golden hope.

    Gift for my soul, this
    Wheeled gate rolls open
    Invites me to its
    Container.

    Vern Ludwig

  19. Herring Run

    They come in a tin can, neatly packed.
    To open the can, pry the key from the underside,
    fit the metal tab into the slot and roll it up.
    How quietly they sleep inside that can.

    The blue door grinds along its track.
    Shoes off, pockets out, hand stamped, book signed;
    arms to my sides, I rotate in all directions,
    passing silently through the archway to the other side.

    Inmates wave through windows when they see me,
    I look for the key in their eyes.
    The tide is strong today but they
    scurry down the hall and through the locks to greet me.

    The scent of spring fills our lungs.
    We thrash and leap through breakers to the sea.
    A secret current carries us beyond the walls.
    Boys frolic in the surf, searching for broken treasures on the shore.

    But now it is time: They line up neatly, side-by-side.
    To close the can you need to find the key,
    fit the metal into the slot and roll it down.
    How quietly they sleep inside that can.

    Steve Spitzer

  20. Prison Poetry Program

    Poetry is a language that speaks directly to the heart. Part of the work of JCP is to bring greater levels of feeling and authentic experience into prisons. Poems are often read in our prison circles as an invitation to go deeper and touch feelings. Spoken poetry is one of the most effective ways for men to access what is at their core.

    Do you have a favorite poem that you would like to be read to men inside?

    Send us your favorites and we will read them to men who are seeking wisdom and inspiration on their journey. Poetry may be sent to us for sharing at the address below.

    E-mail: poetry@jerichocircle.org

  21. Project Return

    Dr. Robert Roberts founded Project Return under the principle that violence, if preventable, should be a public health issue. Through the intervention of community-building and direct service provision for the needs of former offenders in breaking their repetitive cycles of drugs, criminal behavior, and violence, Project Return’s goal was to reduce crime without doing further harm. Concentrating its efforts on those at highest risk for returning to prison, the program seeks to break the cycles of criminal and violent behavior through a process that assists convicted felons in making a successful transition from prison to the community and into employment.

  22. Prison Creative Arts Project

    Founded in 1990, the Prison Creative Arts Project is committed to original work in the arts in Michigan correctional facilities and juvenile facilities. Our purpose is to enhance creative opportunities for inmates and to bring the benefits and skills that come with each art. We have worked with prison actors, writers, and performers to create two dance performances, over one hundred and thirty-two original plays, and over fourteen creative writing presentations at seventeen adult facilities, as well as over eighty-five plays and three dance performances at four Michigan juvenile facilities. We have also curated six Exhibitions of Art by Michigan Prisoners and three exhibitions of art by incarcerated youth from four juvenile facililties.

  23. The Mankind Project International

    The Mankind Project International designs and administers men’s initiation weekends around the world. These weekends are a finely coordinated series of activities: group discussions, games, guided imagery visualizations, journaling, and individual work to help each man to touch his truth. The experiences and skills developed on these weekends and in follow-up groups support men in living lives of integrity, accountability, and connection to feeling. MKP assists men in being of service to the community at large, both as individual men with a renewed sense of passion and personal responsibility, and as communities of men working together to build sustainable relationships. Prisons are one setting in which men can benefit from the type of work offered by MKP.

  24. InsideOUT Writers

    The mission of InsideOUT Writers is to teach creative writing to incarcerated and at-risk youth so as to discourage youth violence, building in its place a spirit of honest introspection, respect of others, and a love of learning. We publish the best of that writing and distribute it to schools, libraries, juvenile detention facilities, the government, and to the general public.

    We believe that inside each young person, no matter who they are or where they grow up, is an important message to be shared. At the writing table, kids who might ordinarily be enemies on the street and think that they have nothing in common, are able to take off their tough facades and discover the truth about themselves and others–from the inside out. Our classes are held in Central Juvenile Hall. also known as EastLake, in East Los Angeles; Barry J. Nidorf Juvenile Hall in Sylmar; Los Padrinos Juvenile Hall in Downey, William Tell Aggeler High School in Chatsworth, Dorothy F. Kirby Center in Los Angeles, and East Los Angeles Skills Center in East Los Angeles. We reach approximately 120 students with our classes each week. Our students join our classes on a volunteer basis and receive school credit for their involvement.

  25. The Freedom Project (Non-Violent Communication)

    The Freedom Project (Non-Violent Communication) began with two individuals, one inside prison and one outside, both inspired by the power of Nonviolent Communication to transform prisoners into peacemakers. They held the conviction that returnees (those returning to the community from prison) have the capacity to offer genuine safety and strength to our ruptured communities. The Freedom Project was founded in 2001 to provide trainings and support for those who have been incarcerated to recognize and grow beyond past mistakes and to find their way home as full contributing members of our community. We have ongoing programs in two prisons in Washington State at the Monroe Correctional Complex. We introduce inmates to the basics of Nonviolent Communication through 2-day workshops and offer more extensive 3-day theme-based trainings in areas such as. anger, reconciliation, etc. Our curriculum also emphasizes the practice of mindfulness.