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, June 28, 2006

Request to video tape FF8 group discussions.

June 28, 2006
Major Eads, FCDC

We are doing something different in The Fierce Landscape for the Spiritual Warrior FF8 group --part of my goal from the beginning. But now being regularly acccomplished (finally) even with the turnover. With regular volunteers, now near the beginning of our 4th year, we have helped create a working group process that has become a “therapeutic community.” The process involves openness and honesty, sharing at a deep level, facing oneself and how much hurt one has given loved ones, recognizing the uniqueness of each person, learning from one another, listening and changing habits and attitudes. In other words, facing and accomplishing the radical change necessary. Only a group process has the power to do this and it takes time to develop.

BTW, I specialized in group therapy for many years, and was a certified member of the American Group Psychotherapy Association, so this substantial past experience has helped, together with a total of some 20 years correctional experience. I also did a workshop on Psychological Games Addictive / Offenders play and how to avoid the traps and burnout for the Tenth Annual Drug Court Conference that was recently completed and highly evaluated.

My guess is that FCDC does not have any other programs that are aiming for or accomplishing this kind of personal change via group process. No program that is merely teach, talk or study, in my opinion, can stimulate this kind of personal facing of one self and the change necessary to avoid recidivism.

We now have regular volunteers for six lessons per week and have recruited several women for a woman’s group, with Chaplain Howell’s generous cooperation. After several months, the women volunteers tell me they are finally getting to a group process with the women trusting each other enough to open up. It took us over a year to get to this level in FF8, where the sense of the group was strong enough for them to meet daily on their own, taking turns in leader roles.

Our current project is inviting these inmates to write a “Before, During and After” script for TV novella, or soap opera, which they are enthusiastically engaged in. Because the process of trust, openness, sharing and personal change is different from the usual didactive programs in corrections, I request, with your permission, that we plan as soon as possible to video tape one or several sessions of our group. Then also to tape the performance of the script, tentatively titled: “Being Crazy, Changing Crazy, Meeting Crazy later”

Allow me to say that this kind of deep group sharing can be instructive not only for the changes these men are making, but also serve as a useful demo for other correctional programs, for the women’s group, for volunteers and perhaps, should you deem it useful, even for your staff. I propose that we, the volunteers and the men in FF8 are demonstrating what is possible in programming, and what can give hope, energy and direction to others. It might even serve as a model of what can be accomplished in programming.

Administrative procedures would be necessary, sign-offs and releases, of course. Please consider arranging for the video-taping of an FF8 session. I will check back within a week for your thoughts.

Paschal Baute,
Priest and Psychologist
Spiritual Growth Network of Kentucky.
June 28, 2006