Insight Prison Project Newsletter
  June 2011


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Beyond Prisons - It's a Locking-People-Up-Problem


Supreme Court Demands California Release 30,000 Inmates


CA Organizations Outline Smart, Safe, Prison Population Reduction Strategies 


Headlines that challenge public perception about incarceration practices in California are no longer the exception.  With increasing frequency, the media is presenting the public with information about who is in prison and the often neglected truth of how they got there.  Finally the public is beginning to understand the true cost of incarceration.


We here at Insight Prison Project are encouraged that what we have known about the complexity of the challenges in our incarceration system are finally being illuminated in ways that seem to invite constructive public discourse.  Spring is here and we continue with our commitment to provide deeply transformative programs that prepare those who are incarcerated to successfully re-enter society.  All of this is made possible by those of you who take the time to support us with your generous gift of resources.


Jennie K. Curtis

Executive Director  

Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG) Update 

VOEG Next Step 2011
VOEG Next Step Graduating Class with facilitators Rochelle Edwards, Jaimee Karroll, and Jack Dison

VOEG Next Step Graduation:

The VOEG Next Step graduates have spent the last year integrating the principles of restorative justice into their daily lives and practicing what they learned during their VOEG experiences. They were honored for their long hard work at the prison with a graduation and celebration, complete with the angelic voices of the East Bay Church of Religious Science, guests and cake.


VOEG Training at Homeboy Industries:

In February, VOEG trainers Jaimee Karroll and Bryan Smith spent a fabulous week with the folks from Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles training them to be VOEG facilitators. The intention is to support the expansion of restorative justice services at Homeboy Industries and to make the VOEG curriculum part of the Homeboy program.  This training was co-sponsored by Homeboys, the Restorative Justice Center at Loyola Law School and the PRISM Ministry of the Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles.


VOEG Facilitator Training: We had a very successful VOEG Facilitator training in May. Twenty-three people were trained in IPP's facilitator model and philosophy, with the intention of taking the VOEG curriculum to places like the San Francisco County Jail, Oakland Unified School District, California Medical Facility, Oregon's Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and beyond. For more information on upcoming trainings, please visit our facilitator training page.

IPP in the News and Around the World 

Tony and Willie How Yoga Can Help In California's Overcrowded Prisons (Time Magazine Video) - "In San Quentin, a yoga program helps inmates cope with anger and violence issues that are endemic in California's over-crowded prisons". Watch the Time magazine video about IPP by clicking here.

Doing a Long Stretch: Yoga Classes Let Inmates 'Escape' Without leaving San Quentin - "They try to breathe mindfully, but those taking part in James Fox's advanced yoga class must put aside the irregular alarm of sirens and guards issuing commands over a loudspeaker. Emancipating through yoga is never easy - especially at California's San Quentin prison". To read more of The Daily article, click here. 

James Fox presents in India
James Fox presents in India

IPP Visits India -
James Fox, IPP Programs Director and yoga instructor, was invited to the International Conference on Yoga for Health and Social Transformation held in Haridwar, India, as a keynote speaker to address the application of yoga and meditation for prisoners. The conference, held at the prestigious Patanjali University, focused on the philosophical, emotional and spiritual aspects of yoga and the scientific research that is being conducted worldwide on the psychological and physiological benefits of the practice. Over 5,000 people were in attendance representing scientists and yogis from countries throughout the world.


Chinese Delegation Visits IPP - On April 22nd IPP was invited to host a delegation of legal professionals from China who were interested in sentencing procedures, by the Institute of International Education/West Coast Center.  A significant part of our work here at Insight Prison Project is to help shift the discussion around prison and the value of restorative justice programs. Opportunities such as these lead to cross cultural understanding and appreciation while also forwarding the conversation.


Thank you to Leonard Rubio, Tom Nolan, Jaimee Karroll, and Jennie Curtis for leading this important discussion.  

Volunteer Spotlight 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to the three Student Learning Groups who worked with IPP this year. We are very grateful for their hard work and dedication to furthering our mission!


  • UC Berkeley Board Fellows Pilar Mendoza and Andrea Ambriz
  • UC Berkeley Learning Assessment Group - Brandee Tate, Angeline Vuong, and Sheida Elmi
  • San Francisco University Service Learning Team - Leonard Rubio, Zach Chamberlin, Pankaj Jandir and Eugene Park

Fundraising Update    

Thank you to everyone that submitted a poem or collected poems from the men in blue for the CTK Foundation Heart and Soul Grant Award Program. While we did not win the grant, we did receive several great entries. The poem that we submitted for the grant was written by George B. who participates in 'The Work' class led by Kathy Harris. 


My First Time

I walked through the door no ducat was needed

And to my surprise was warmly greeted by two shinning blue eyes

A big warm smile

Was led to a chair and asked to stay awhile

As I sat in that chair I started to see a new life, a different me

Though I'm confined in this self made prison, my soul has been set free


The Work has given me the key

When asked what I'm taking away, I close my eyes and just say: me!!



A very special thank you to the San Francisco Foundation for their continued support of IPP programs. With their help, IPP is able to expose 250 San Quentin prisoners to innovative rehabilitation and reentry curriculum that provides the insight, knowledge and tools to transform negative behavior patterns that led them to prison into positive, productive behaviors that will sustain them while incarcerated and add to their chances of success upon release.

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Our Work 

Vision: Insight Prison Project envisions a vibrant and just society that inspires individual transformation beyond the walls of both personal and institutional incarceration.


Mission: Insight Prison Project transforms the lives of those impacted by incarceration through programs designed to develop behavior inspired by insight, accountability and compassion.