Friday, November 5, 2010

Getting 'it" in prison

In an article written in 1978 about the est Training given at the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary, writer Neal Rogin talks about the process inmates went through in gaining responsibility for their actions. This is an excerpt of that article:

What comes up for the trainees to experience is often more than uncomfortable. Take the case of Bobby. Bobby was in Lompoc for homicide. Throughout the training he wore very dark glasses and sat in the back row. The only time he took them off was when Ted (the trainer) confronted him in the Danger Process, and even then he did everything to avoid looking at anyone. "The Danger Process was really a high point in this training," Ted later told me. "It was the time when they got in touch with their tough guy acts and became a group."

It was after the Danger Process that things really began to come up for Bobby. Sometime during the afternoon of the third Saturday, I looked up and saw an empty chair in the back row. Turning toward the door, I saw Bobby moving unsteadily towards it. Joe walked over to him. They stood there for a long time. A very long time. I wondered what was going on. Joe later explained, "What Bobby was looking at, what had come up for him was whatever it was that made him kill people. He said he couldn't stand being in the room any more and that he not only wanted to get out of the training, he wanted to get out of the prison. He was literally ready to go over the wall, rather than experience what was coming up."

"I didn't press him on it. That doesn't work. I just gave him the space to look, and to communicate. He knew that this was his number, and he was able to see that he was standing at a crossroad. I pointed out to him that he was totally free to leave the training without being hassled, that it was perfectly OK with Ted for him to be there or not be there, and that this was an opportunity for him to do something he never did before, to move through the barrier he was up against and to be done with it. After four hours, he chose to stay...."

After all the trainees had become graduates, people refused to go away; the feeling of love and communication in the room was so intense that I have rarely experienced any thing like it. The graduates walked around getting to know one another, laughing, sharing, swapping stories, hugging. All differences disappeared. There was no outside or inside, no prisoners or visitors, there was just the commonly shared experience of knowing who's responsible for it all....

We were about to leave when Bobby came over to Ted and stood there, without his glasses for the first time. He moved close to Ted, took his hand, muttered and stammered something under his breath and hurried shyly away. "What did he say?" I asked. Without taking his eyes off Bobby as the inmate walked away, Ted said, "He told me he loved me."

From Getting 'it" in Prison, reprinted from The Graduate Review, June 1978

Monday, October 11, 2010

Prison Possibilities

Prison Possibilities, Inc. was an independent non-profit organization established by the Werner Erhard Foundation that enabled men and women in prisons to alter their predictable futures. This organization's programs demonstrated concrete results in significantly lowering the rate of re arrest and imprisonment among those inmates who participated. A number of the inmates who participated in the programs continue to this day to make the program available to others.

For additional studies of est in Prisons see:

Earl Babbie, Ph.D., "est in Prison - General Overview", American Journal of Corrections, Nov-Dec 1977 & Jan-Feb 1978

Mark Woodard, "The est Training in the Prisons: A Basis for the Transformation of Corrections?", University of Baltimore Law Journal, 1982

Friday, September 24, 2010

Breakthrough Foundation

The Breakthrough Foundation, an independent non-profit organization has been dedicated to changing the direction of thousands of young people's lives through the Youth at Risk Program. The project has won national acclaim for its outstanding results in turning around the lives of young people who were severely at risk for drug abuse, unemployment, and violent crime. President George H.W. Bush recognized the Breakthrough Foundation as one of his "thousand points of light."

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Werner Erhard Foundation

The Werner Erhard Foundation was established in 1973 to provide opportunities for individuals to express their commitment to altering what is possible for human beings in life. The Foundation's mission was to foster and support projects that would provide breakthroughs in fields related to personal and social development. The Foundation brought people together from all over the world to contribute to and participate in ground-breaking work in the area of human achievement and transformation.

In the nearly 20 years of its existence, the Werner Erhard Foundation provided funds for research, scholarly endeavors, and voluntary action. They supported more than 300 diverse individuals and organizations from a variety of disciplines. Working in many different fields and surroundings, these people made a profound contribution to human thinking, growth, and achievement.

Contributions from the Werner Erhard Foundation helped avert a catastrophic famine in Ethiopia, rebuild an elementary school in Mexico City following a devastating earthquake, and also made the work of Buckminster Fuller more widely known. The work of transformation and personal responsibility was brought to the former Soviet Union and the Werner Erhard Foundation launched projects such as The Hunger Project, The Mastery Foundation, and the Youth at Risk Program, which continue to be vital and active today.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Werner Erhard Foundation Website

"What we create together is a relationship in which we work on making a difference in people’s lives. I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on that which concerns us all as human beings." Werner Erhard

The Werner Erhard Foundation was committed to bettering the human condition through non-profit, voluntary action. Many of the projects founded by the Werner Erhard Foundation have evolved into independent self-sustaining organizations that continue their work in bringing about a transformation in the quality of life on our planet.

Read more at the new Werner Erhard Foundation Website

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Werner Erhard, Buckminster Fuller and John Denver

Werner Erhard, John Denver and Buckminster Fuller in September 1980.