Lionheart’s EQ2 presented at Assoc. of Children’s Residential Ctr. Conference

01/05/19 0

EQ2, Lionheart’s social and emotional coaching program for front-line staff working with individuals who have experienced complex trauma, is in final stages of development.  A workshop on EQ2 was presented at the 64th annual conference of the Association of Children’s Residential Centers in New Orleans (April 2019).

Dr. Bethany Casarjian, creator of the program, presented a workshop titled More Than a Deep Breath:  How Increasing Our Own Self-Regulation Skills Can Magnify the Impact of Trauma-Informed Care.   She introduced Lionheart’s upcoming program for direct-care staff, EQ2 and the concepts therein,  to the more than 70 professionals who attended the workshop– helping staff/agencies build more trauma-informed environments.

The EQ2 program is scheduled to be available in Fall 2019.

In addition, information was disseminated at the conference about the Power Source Program, Lionheart’s evidence-based, trauma-informed, program for highly at risk youth.  For more information about Power Source Click here. 

Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars

17/04/19 0

Old prison solitary confinement cell block.

Starting in 2018, through another 3-year Innovative Grant from the CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation, The Lionheart Foundation has been delivering a program titled “Making Time Count: Making the Most of Your Time Behind Bars” to incoming prisoners in the San Quentin Reception Center where they spend their first 2-6 months. The program introduces them to about half of the Houses of Healing curriculum. Making Time Count classes accommodate 15 men at a time from each of the two “dorms” where it is offered. Currently each dorm has about 75 men on the waiting list. As a result of the challenges of facilitating in the transient Reception Center and the large demand, we are now translating the program into a self-study program which will give every prisoner who is motivated to “make their time count” the opportunity to participate.

About the Book Houses of Healing

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing Program in Solitary Confinement

17/04/19 0

The HOH Self-Study Course for Prisoners in Solitary: Although the CDCR (CA Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation) grant that funded the self-study program for those in solitary ended in 2017, The Lionheart Foundation continues to offer this course to prisoners in CA’s solitary units both in Pelican Bay and CSP-Corcoran. In total about 600 prisoners in CA solitary units (otherwise referred to as SHUs – Special Housing Units) have registered for the program. Feedback continues to be outstanding.

Power Source Parenting for Teen Parents

15/04/19 0

The Lionheart Foundation’s curriculum, Power Source Parenting (PSP), is designed to give teen parents the guidance and skills they need to become loving, effective parents and raise healthy children.  PSP is a practical, accessible, and innovative book/curriculum written for teen and young adult parents and the professionals who support them.

The book, Power Source Parenting: Growing Up Strong and Raising Healthy Kids, is the centerpiece of the project.  Among topics included in the book are:

  • Creating a healthy attachment to one’s child
  • Coping with the stress of parenting in adaptive ways
  • Implementing positive discipline practices
  • Managing three generational living
  • Establishing healthy relationships with partners
  • Breaking cycles of domestic violence
  • Bringing awareness to patterns of high-risk behavior and it’s effects on one’s children
  • A section for fathers that addresses becoming a father in the wake of a fatherless upbringing and helping young fathers identify possible contributions not contingent upon finances.

Power Source Parenting can be read by young parents on their own, or the concepts, exercises, and numerous first-hand stories by young parents can be introduced and explored in facilitated parenting groups or during individual home visits, or counseling sessions.

Special pricing and free shipping (with the U.S.) is available throughout April 2019.

Read more:

To order:

Evidenced-based Power Source Program

18/03/19 0

The Power Source Program was created to empower youth at-risk with the social, emotional, and behavioral skills associated with paths of healthy development and permanent disengagement from the prison pipeline.

This evidence-based and widely embraced program helps adolescents learn effective strategies to manage challenging emotions, reduce engagement in interpersonal violence, heal from histories of trauma, discover alternative coping strategies to substance abuse, while equipping them with the skills that promise success in school, the workplace, and in the larger world.

Recently, The Power Source Program, was accepted into, an evidence-based repository which serves as a clearinghouse of information about what works and what has been identified as promising in justice programs and practices. The project, overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, reviewed the existing research literature to identify “effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field.”

In addition to being listed in Crime Solutions, The Power Source program will also be included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide.

Lionheart’s Power Source Program / Promising Justice Program, Practice

13/03/19 0

In March of 2019 The Power Source Program was accepted into, an evidence-based repository which serves as a clearinghouse of information about what works and what has been identified as promising in justice programs and practices. The project, overseen by the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Institute of Justice, reviewed the existing research literature to identify “effective, quality programs and practices in the fields of criminal justice, juvenile justice, and crime victimization to serve as evidence-based models for the field.”

In addition to being listed in Crime Solutions, The Power Source program will also be included in the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s (OJJDP’s) Model Programs Guide.

Lionheart’s Houses of Healing Program on Death Row

11/03/19 0

The Houses of Healing Self-Study Program for Prisoners in Solitary Confinement: The Lionheart Foundation has delivered the Houses of Healing Program to hundreds of prisoners in the (solitary confinement) at two CA prisons. Death row inmates at CA’s San Quentin prison are also in solitary confinement and Lionheart is now offering the program there as well. To date, 35 men on death row have participated. Feedback from the men in both the SHU and death row implores us to keep offering the program even though it is no longer funded by the CDCR. Word of mouth by the prisoners and enthusiastic endorsement by staff keep requests coming in.

“I recommend [this course to others] because it not only teaches you how to interact with yourself, it also contains exercises that develop the skills you need. One of the things I didn’t appreciate in my life was when people said I should change, but then wouldn’t show me how. I’m not saying my behavior was anyone’s fault, but how do you ask a blind person to describe the color blue if they’ve never seen it? How can you? – they have no point of reference. Same philosophy applies when asking someone to think in new ways. San Quentin Death Row Houses of Healing has been a turning point in my journey. It has helped me heal and for that I am extremely grateful… I can go on and on about how it’s impacted me but if I had to break it down to one word I would say I feel purified. Pelican Bay State Prison SHU, CA

Social Security Disability Benefits and Prison

29/10/18 0

Submitted by:  Eric Minghella

If you or someone you love is incarcerated and on Social Security disability benefits, it’s likely your benefits will be affected while you’re serving your sentence. Thousands of people on Social Security disability serve prison sentences just like the able-bodied population, so the Social Security Administration (SSA) has resources available for people on disability benefits who go to prison. Here’s how your monthly benefits will be affected when you serve time:
Do You Keep Receiving Benefits?
You will not continue to receive benefits if you’re in prison for 30 days or longer, but it’ll be easy to reinstate benefits once you’re released. Those on Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) qualify for rapid reinstatement as soon as they’re released, so long as the status of your disability hasn’t changed. Those on Supplemental Security Income (SSI) will also be eligible for rapid reinstatement, so long as they weren’t incarcerated for over a year. After 12 months, you’ll need to reapply for SSI once you’re released.
The good news is if you’re on SSDI benefits and you have a dependent family member receiving additional benefits on your behalf, such as a spouse or a minor child, they’ll continue to receive their monthly payments while you’re in prison.
What About Health Insurance?
Most people on SSDI or SSI will be eligible for Medicare or Medicaid respectively. Those on Medicare Part A will maintain health insurance eligibility without any interruptions. Those on Medicare Part B will lose Part B of their benefits unless they continue to pay their monthly premiums.
Medicaid is a little trickier because it’s awarded on a state-by-state basis. You’ll need to contact your local Medicaid office to ensure you’ll remain enrolled in the plan, but you can get a referral form to provide to your local social services office from the SSA’s website.
When Can I Reapply?
The best time to reapply to get your disability benefits reinstated is as soon as you receive your prison release records. You may receive this paperwork up to 60 days before you’re actually released from prison. While you won’t be able to receive benefits before you’re released, you can still apply with the release paperwork so the SSA can get started on processing your claim. This is a great way to ensure that your benefits will start as soon as you’re released. If you don’t have a prerelease agreement, you can still start the process as soon as you think you’ll be released.
To get started with reapplying for Social Security disability after you’re released from a correctional facility, you can call the SSA toll free at 1-800-772-1213 or reapply online through your My Social Security Account. A family member can also make an appointment to apply on your behalf at your closest Social Security office. Good times to call the SSA are first thing in the morning (7-8 A.M.), as wait times become very long throughout the day.
Resources Found Via:

Investing in the Incarceration of Youth is No Investment at all.

17/10/18 0

The following article was written by Daniel Silva, a lead facilitator for Lionheart’s CA Innovative Grant Programs.  Published in the CA Endowment newsletter.


Investing In The Incarceration of Youth, Is No Investment At All.
By Daniel Silva

Daniel Silva is the Founder of Self Awareness & Recovery (SAR), a former inmate, and is a passionate reform and rehabilitation advocate.

I am a 50-year-old man who has spent 39 years of my life behind bars.  Millions of taxpayer dollars were spent to incarcerate me in juvenile camps and the state’s prison system, where I was given a life sentence for murder.

Life could have turned out differently for me, if I had the guidance and support I needed as a child who took to the streets to escape family dysfunction and abuse. Now that I am back in the community, I devote my life to helping young people stay in school and out of prison. That’s why I’m supporting the #SchoolsNotPrisons concert tour, which calls attention to issues I know all too well.

I came of age in Los Angeles, growing up without my biological father.  His absence created a void and resentment, which was fed by even more negativity once my abusive stepfather came into the picture. Being raised in this environment led me to the streets in search of refuge and validation. My juvenile delinquency began at the age of 12, when I started sniffing glue and experimenting with whatever drugs I could get my hands on in order to escape my anger and painful reality. I  raduated from foster homes and juvenile camps, to serving a life sentence by the age of 18.

Even after serving over 20 years behind bars, I remained on a destructive path. Change took time. There was no single instance or “a-ha!” moment that caused me to want a different way of life. It took a culmination of hurt, pain, and hard lessons for me to finally seek change. But when change did come, I was inspired to not just change for myself, but also for those around me who were ighting similar struggles. While serving time, I completed many rehab programs, but there was one  program in particular that opened the doors to my second chance at life: Houses of Healing. This program gave me the opportunity to create a rehab program, and thus Self Awareness & Recovery (SAR) was born.

Had there been intervention and rehabilitation programs earlier in my development, I believe that more of my years would have been spent on the outside helping others, as opposed to being locked-up on the inside – both figuratively and literally. However, I also believe God had a path for my life and that my journey is serving a greater purpose. It is my mission to fight for those who have no one to fight for them, by intervening before young people get stuck in the system, as well as advocating for the rehabilitation and healing of those who remain inside.

Individuals aren’t the only ones who are broken and in need of rehabilitation. The prison system feeds on vulnerable people, many who were born into destructive paths and were themselves victimized as children.  We need to ensure that young people have access to education and opportunities, as well as the guidance and support needed to successfully break dysfunction. It’s time that we as a society build up and invest in our young people, rather than label them as criminals at the first sign of bad behavior. When the prison industry is booming, it’s a sign that we have failed both our children and communities.

With proper investments in education and rehabilitation, I’m confident we can help create different futures for our brothers and sisters who were born on the fast track to jail through no fault of their own. It’s time to invest in building schools to shelter our children, not prisons, because knowledge and education is the only way to break this cycle. 

Links to guided meditations by Robin Casarjian, The Lionheart Foundation.

15/10/18 0

Meditation is the quiet motor underlying all of the Lionheart Foundation’s social emotional literacy programs to prisoners, highly at risk youth and at risk teen parents nationwide. Lionheart programs are offered in prisons, juvenile institutions, schools and community programming.

Click on the link below to access two guided meditations by Robin Casarjian, Executive Director of the Lionheart Foundation, Boston, MA.




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