June 2019 Newsletter – New Program to Work with Adult Prison Population

Mind Body Awareness Project launches new program to work with adult prison population!

Mind Body Awareness Project is excited to announce a new program that will be expanding our community impact in the Bay Area mental health and criminal justice system!

In January we launched our pilot with the incarcerated population at Glenn Dyer Jail, in Oakland CA. This included prisoners across the spectrum of age, race, and even language, as we translated our curriculum into Spanish, and facilitated 2 Spanish groups over the course of our pilot.

In April we welcomed 15 graduates as they completed a transformative rite of passage experience. Our ritual held a space for these men to publicly declare an intention (for themselves and their peers) to release old ways of being that no longer serve them, and be initiated into their true nature and wholeness.

Some of these men shed tears, others celebrated as they recognized just how much they had accomplished over the last 3 months.

Some of the highlights from the last 3 months:

One of our graduates Raul, went down for a high profile crime along with his girlfriend. Raul started to receive collect calls from his girlfriend who was locked up in another prison.

“What are they doing to you in there, you are acting so different, so mature”?
He told her, “I am learning how to meditate.” He then began copying our curriculum
– without our knowledge – and began teaching it to her!

When he shared this with us we were blown away by this story, which then went on to become our most followed social media post. Later on, we found out that many of our other graduates were doing the same thing! They were teaching our curriculum to family members over the phone, guiding them through mindfulness practices, explaining how trauma works, and why it’s important to use self-compassion in difficult circumstances. Since then, we’ve amended our program to include a copy of our curriculum to all of our graduates.

Systemic Community Impact

Our new program is working across various levels of impact: prisoners in the system along with continued support after they are released. Additionally, we are now working to provide mindfulness based training to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department; including deputies, correctional officers, and clinical staff.

Below is a bird’s eye view of our project:

Rehabilitation and integration into society of incarcerated populations
Our program is taking incarcerated prisoners through our new 10 week curriculum created for adult populations, which includes mindfulness, trauma, self-compassion, belonging and a rites of passage experience
We are providing our clients individual mindfulness based mental health support that will help them integrate their learning and sustain their transformative experiences
After they are released from prison, they will enter our community integration program and receive group and individual counseling via our reentry project

Mindfulness and social emotional education to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department
Our program will deliver our mindfulness and social emotional training to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department, including deputies who work in crime prevention and correctional officers
On the mental health side, we will also be training the clinical staff of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department

We have been working with incarcerated populations for almost 20 years and we are excited to continue to do this work with an expanded approach that includes training the individuals within the criminal justice and mental health systems that have a direct impact on these individuals’ lives.

If you believe in what we are doing and want to support, please donate here!

Author: ADMINISTRATOR

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The Mind Body Awareness Project | info@mbaproject.org | Oakland, CA
Mindfulness & Life Skills for At-Risk Youth

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