Houses of Healing Program in Solitary Confinement

27/01/20 0

The Houses of Healing Self-study Course for Prisoners in the SHU (14-sessions)

“This course has greatly impacted my life in a positive way.  I’ve taken several self-help courses.  I’ve been in solitary confinement for more than 15 years, but this course was unlike any other and made me look deeper into myself.  And it has most of all made me take time to pause and think, reflect upon life and past mistakes and errors, and then make a rational, logical, and wise choice.  Before I’d act or respond without thinking or worry of the consequences.”
SHU Prisoner

In 2016, Lionheart was awarded an “Innovative Grant” from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) to design and bring the Houses of Healing Self-Study Course to prisoners in the CA Special Housing Units (SHUs) in Pelican Bay, CA State Prison – Corcoran, and the CA Correctional Institution (CCI) – all prisons with large isolation units. (In the past year the SHU in CCI has closed and the number of prisoners in the other SHUs is decreasing.) During the grant period (1/2016-6/2017), 464 prisoners voluntarily registered and participated in The Houses of Healing Self-study Course for Prisoners in the SHU. Course evaluations from 160 participants showed significant positive change and progress.

 

Pilot Data

Summary of evaluation feedback from 160 participants in the 14-session Houses of Healing Self-Study Course for Prisoners in the SHU.  464 men registered and received the course.  The evaluation response rate = 34.4%.

  • 93% of respondents reported being able to remain in control of their behavior when upset (“most of the time” or “almost always”), since taking the course, compared to 18% before the course, with 90% of individual respondents reporting improvement.
  • 86% of respondents reported being able to handle anger in a positive way, (“most of the time” or “almost always”), since taking the course, compared to 15% before the course, with 93% of individual respondents reporting improvement.
  • 91% of respondents reported using healthy ways to make themselves feel better when upset, (“most of the time” or “almost always”), since taking the course, compared to 13% before the course, with 89% of individual respondents reporting improvement.
  • 91% of respondents reported being aware of their “triggers” (people and circumstances that trigger an emotional reaction in oneself), (“most of the time” or “almost always”), since taking the course, compared to 18% before the course, with 89% of individual respondents reporting improvement.
  • 95% of respondents reported feeling hopeful about life (“most of the time” or “almost always”), since taking the course, compared to 29% before the course, with 83% of individual respondents reporting improvement.
  • 95% of respondents reported the ability to take responsibility for their actions, (“most of the time” or “almost always”), since taking the course, compared to 30% before the course, with 86% of individual respondents reporting improvement.
  • Among the emotional regulation techniques taught in the course are meditation and yoga. 78% reported that they meditated at least 3 times a week to almost every day. 50% reported that they practiced yoga from 3 times a week to almost every day.
  • 98% of respondents answered positively when asked how they would rate the course (with 90% rating the course as “very good” or “excellent”).
  • 100% of respondents stated that they would recommend the Houses of Healing Self-study Program to others.

Program Goals/Outcomes include:

  • Recognizing the importance of using time in segregation in a disciplined, constructive way
  • Learning and practicing mindfulness meditation, emotional self-regulation, and stress-management techniques
  • Nurturing a fundamental shift in self-identity to one that is strength-based
  • Learning cognitive reframing from cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Acknowledging, working with, and healing childhood trauma
  • Transforming anger, resentment, and unhealthy guilt and shame
  • Understanding and practicing forgiveness
  • Acknowledging and healing grief
  • Acknowledging guilt and the impact of crime – taking responsibility for offending behavior – and increasing victim awareness
  • Learning/practicing some basics of physical exercise and yoga
  • Nurturing spiritual growth

Delivery of the Houses of Healing Self-study Course:

Due to the cost of delivering the self-study course ($70 per participant), it is available to prisoners in solitary ONLY in prisons where arrangements have been made with the prison administration beforehand. If Lionheart is not working with your prison system, we are not able to deliver the program there.

Lionheart’s out-of-pocket expenses for the book Houses of Healing: A Prisoner’s Guide to Inner Power and Freedom, 200 photocopied pages, envelopes, labels, and postage for 15 mailings are $58 per person. This does not include any administrative costs involved with coordinating and sending weekly sessions. The total cost is $70 per participant.

Learn more about Lionheart’s prison projects.