21/03/13 0

The U.S. has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the "civilized" world.

You are not alone.  Almost everyone today knows someone, or of someone, who is incarcerated or involved with the criminal justice system – probation or parole. The rate of incarceration has accelerated at an  astounding pace in the U.S. with approximately 7,000,000 Americans under correctional supervision.  The United States has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the “civilized” world.  One in every 100 Americans is behind bars.  It is no wonder that most of us know of someone in these unfortunate circumstances. We at the Lionheart Foundation hear from concerned friends and relatives of inmates every day looking for help.

Circumstances are as varied as there are inmates.  Some are incarcerated for the first time, while some have long histories of incarceration and recidivism.  Some are in for a short time, while others are coming out after a very long sentence.  No matter the situation, there are also commonalities, one of the most pressing being how men and women will learn and grow while incarcerated so that they are prepared to live a successful crime-free, drug free life after release.

Lionheart’s social emotional literacy program for prisoners, Houses of Healing, helps incarcerated men and women take stock of their lives, change destructive behavior patterns while giving them support to alter the course of their lives.  This program has supported tens of thousands of prisoners through self-help, one-on-one counseling and facilitated groups in prisons across the country.

Many prison budgets have been slashed, and support for programming is often the first to be eliminated.  In response, the Lionheart Foundation conducted an outreach and free distribution initiative (6/11—12/12) supporting more than 2000 prison libraries, prison chaplaincies and substance abuse and recovery programs in prisons and jails across the country with 11,000+ Houses of Healing books for FREE.

Most people in prisons will come back into our communities, and it is critical for everyone that they come back with greater understanding and compassion and committed to a positive lifestyle. In fact, we hope that everyone will do their part: families and friends with loving support, communities with reentry programs, employers with job opportunities, etc., to help those returning to the community unmask their potential and live productive lives.

Judith Perry, Chief Operating Officer, The Lionheart Foundation

For more information about Lionheart’s Prison Program Click Here