While the experience of being sent to prison can promote depression, anger, resentment, and despair, and appears to be contrary to thriving, it can also provide generous space for learning and growth that can bring true freedom.
The Thriving Inside approach to achieving freedom is grounded in Restorative Justice principles and practices. A central premise of Restorative Justice is that unskilled acts that stimulate pain in self and others result in a breaks in connection both within a person, and between the person and others. Breaks in connection can occur at the level of families, races, communities, classes, nations, etc.
The Thriving Inside approach is based on the understanding that restoring a person’s connection to themself is the first necessary step in restoring connection with others. Time to study, reflect, and practice are central to effective restoration of self. Another essential condition to nurture accountability for harms caused is participation in a transformative learning community.
In its original meaning, the word asylum means a place of refuge where healing can occur. Using the principle of asylum along with the Thriving Life concepts of Self Connection, Shared Humanity, Shared Reality, and Cooperative Co-Creation, Thriving Inside provides concepts, skills, and experiences that support participants in experiencing inner freedom while not at physical liberty.
Freedom is the ability to respond rather than react to what occurs moment by moment in our world. Thriving Inside combines mindfulness, Nonviolent Communication, Interpersonal Neurobiology, Thriving Life principles, and other transformative processes in a program and curriculum that promotes presence, equanimity, compassion, and choice in those participating.
The Thriving Inside curriculum and companion Thriving Inside Peer Training Program serve to transform those in custody into peacemakers both while in prison and — because 98% of those in prisons are returned to society — after they’re released back into the community.
To this end, we are working with visionary prisons to develop Thriving Inside Transformative Learning Communities (TLC’s) that support inmates’ growth while they are incarcerated (“inside”), as well as after they have been released.
Inmates who participate in our program not only learn how to achieve freedom inside, but also how to teach freedom to others, both in the prison setting as well as in their community after their release.
How You Can Help Create Peace in our Communities
Currently we’re establishing a program at the Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington, Oklahoma. Your tax-deductible donation will enable us to develop and launch their current fledgling Transformative Learning Community in Fall of 2019. Click here to support this new program!
Thank you warmly for your generous support,
Fred Sly, PhD
CNVC Certified NVC Trainer
Portland, OR, USA