A faith-based program at the Fayette County Detention Center using pastoral experience, Correctional psychology, Wisdom traditions including AA, group dynamics and volunteers. The project coordinator has 17 years experience in correctional consulting and 40 years experience in pastoral counseling (overlapping :-)

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Feedback f rom Inmates, 4/19/05, Paschal

Feedback from Inmates, 4/19/05, Paschal.

Interviews with each of the Spiritual Growth inmates was held yesterday to determine what was working for them. All except one was interviewed.

Results were very positive, beyond expectations. One inmate said their pod was now so positive and powerful that the baddest person in the jail could be put in the remaining bunk and “we would transform him in a month.” When I offered to take him up on the offer, he admitted he was not that sure. Several said they had never really believed in service until now when they were experiencing it from Guido, Mercier, myself and the other volunteers.

What most helped was the fact that this program allowed them to buy in at their own pace, as opposed to other programs where behavior and study was mandated. Now that they were meeting regularly on their own, everyone was taking responsibility for leadership. All felt the atmosphere was very positive. I also asked for written feedback and here is some of it. The question was What is working in the program for you?

“It allows me to get answers to questions I have had for years. The people around me are very positive and this makes a hard situation more bearable.”
“Everyone gets along and respects the others. Being around a group of guys that keep it real and tell no one nothing wrong! This helps to keep one another UP.”
“By us running most of our program, it gives us a sensitivity of leadership, and shows that we really want to change.”
The program gives me hope for the future, the fellowship is a big thing for me, I love you and the volunteers. I commend you all, you made a difference.”
“The fellowship among us is very valuable because each one shares their strength and weakness with each other.”
“The sense of belief among us is what helps me. All of us in the program have something to share in their beliefs and I see how that makes us different but also the same, believing in One.”
“To be able to open up, talk about my life’s problems, being accepted for who I am, and where my spiritual journey may take me, and be real about life. Thank you.”
“What is making this work for me is that I do not want to walk back into that Hell I was living in. I have had enough. It depends on the person–whether they are ready or not cause through God all things are possible.”
“What I would like to see is discussion on etiquette and proper manners.”

I was able to congratulate each of them on the fact that it was each of them who was making the program work by the leadership they were showing in meeting on their own and creating such a positive environment in the pod.

I am feeling that the much energy that has gone into structuring this program and recruiting volunteers is at last paying off. We have managed somehow to help these men create something reallly different, a safe place where they can risk being themselves, truly learn from one another, and enjoy taking responsibility for creating a positive climate for their pod. It was a good day for me, during a week that has had dark shadows.