Men when they enter
prison are taught how to hate other races, how to make weapons, how to Alcohol,
not to gamble, and not to trust anyone. Yet when these same men are released
back to the free world they are not taught how to survive. They are not taught that
everything they learned in prison and did in prison will not help them in the
free world. They are not allowed to talk about the trauma they experienced in
prison at the hands of corrupt correctional officers, or other inmates. They
are not allowed to talk about the traumas they experienced as children. They
are expected to cope with these things on their own. The only way they have
ever learned to cope is through self-medication of alcohol and other drugs.
They return to violence and crime and end up back into the prison system they
have tried to leave behind. These men need a safe place to talk about the
effects that the life styles they have lived may have on them while receiving
alcohol and other drug counseling. Lifetime trauma experience exposure rates
for incarcerated men vary from 62% to 100% (Nancy Wolff, 2015) while 7 out of 10 incarcerated men
report childhood physical, sexual abuse or neglect (Nancy Wolff, 2015). This group aims to give men a safe
place to talk about these core issues and find ways to cope with, accept and
live with these traumas without returning to the use of substances to do this.
Using the concepts presented in Seeking Safety along with Helping Men Recover
these men will be asked the tough questions along with homework assignments to
accomplish to better understand themselves, what they have been through, and
what type of men they wish to be. As it is CDCR (California Department of
Corrections and Rehabilitation) does not recognize or treat PTSD in the prison
population. So, men are not able to process the traumas of the life they have
lived. These traumas are increased when they are put in a cell and treated as a
number. When they endure the possible threat on their lives daily. A place
where they can’t trust the next man, so they wear a mask hiding their pain. A
place where it is considered a weakness to show any emotion. (Asheley Goff, 2007)
This group will be a
psychoeducational group along with a process group. It will meet twice weekly
for 90-minute sessions for 12 weeks. The group will meet on Tuesdays and
Thursdays from 6:00-7:30PM each time. This group will meet at Bridges Men’s
Residential at 1730 P Street. On Tuesdays this group will use the educational
aspects as presented in Seeking Safety (Najavits, 2002) and on Thursdays it
will use the process outlined in Helping Men Recover (Stephanie S.
This group will be set up this way for the men to be able to process any
emotions brought up with a more trained professional. Both books have been
presented in such a way that they are more aimed at AOD (alcohol and other
drug) Counselors to be able to utilize the information presented in them to
help people with Substance Use Disorders overcome trauma. Therefore, all one
needs to run these groups is a CADC certification or a supervised RADT. I would
like to have a trained LCSW help as a co-facilitator though who has knowledge
of substance use disorder and trauma. My company does have one for our use and
I would ask her to be my co-facilitator. Trauma for men is a hard topic
especially coming from the prison system. Every group will start and end with 5
minutes of meditation.
qualifications are that I am currently a RADT-I who is working on his CADC
certifications. I have extensive knowledge of the drug and prison lifestyle. I
have an understanding of the gang lifestyle and the problems that arise in
living in low economic neighborhoods. I have had cultural training and like to
believe I am diverse in my thinking. I would have a LCSW helping me in
facilitating this group who is also a certified CADC and is willing to assist.
I currently run groups and understand the dynamics of the group and how
valuable group work can be for individuals.
This group will be a
closed group of no more than 8 members per session. There will be no age
restriction upon the group except all members will be over 18 years old. It
will be on a referral basis from parole officers, AOD counselors, and Westcare.
All members will have to have spent some time in prison and have a SUD
diagnosis along with a history of trauma. All members will have to currently be
sober either in an outpatient or residential program. The members will have to
be willing to talk about their trauma and experiences and be willing to learn
knew coping skills in dealing with life. At the screening process they will be
asked about the fears they may have in joining the group? They will be asked if
they are ready to take a critical look at their lives and address the problems
of the past along with ones of today? Can you be in a group of people who may
be from another gang then you or another race? Finally, they will be asked what
they most want to get from the group?
All members will be
expected to be on time. At 6:00PM the door will be closed and locked. There
will be no late admittance. This group is for the members. Someone who is
talking does not need the disrespect of a late comer. All members are there to
help one another. There will be no cell phones in the group. You are expected
to keep your phone on silent and in your pocket. You are allowed two absences after
that you will be asked to leave the group. Everything said in this group is
confidential. Do not talk about anything said in this group outside of group.
There are no prison politics in this group. There will be no put downs racial
slurs or gang related talk in this group. Once a week you will be given an
assignment that you will be required to do. No violence of any kind will be
tolerated in this group. Hopefully you can maintain this outside of the group
too. Respect is the key issue to this group. There will be no talking when
another member is talking.
What is said in this
group stays in this group. I am a mandated court reporter though. If you tell
me about child abuse I must report it especially if the person you tell me
about still has access to children. If you tell me your mom abused you as a
child and she is dead then I won’t report that, but if she is alive and spends
time with your child then I must report it. You tell me about elder abuse or
disabled people abuse then I must report it. It is understandable to have anger
and want to hurt people it is also understandable to feel shame and think about
harming yourself. With if you say you want to kill a specific person or
yourself and I feel you have a serious plan and intent I must report it. Know
this though if you talk about anything you did in your past I cannot report it.
If you report that you killed Jim Johnson a week ago and he is buried by the
railroad tracks I cannot and will not say anything about that. You are free to
talk about any crimes you have committed in here unless they involve children,
the elderly, or the disabled. Social media is not to be used in here. Do not
post on Facebook, snapchat, or any other social media site anything or anyone
that happens in here.