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Insight Prison Project
October 2011 Newsletter

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Fall is in the air and welcoming change is always the invitation.


That truism is a fact of life and more true than ever for all of us closely associated with the California Department of Corrections. 


Margaret Wheatley, an internationally acclaimed speaker and writer, reminds us that "everyone in a complex system has a slightly different interpretation.  The more interpretations we gather the easier it becomes to gain a sense of the whole."


This truism guides us here at IPP in our day to day work with men on the inside and in our day to day work with the systems in which we interact.


We hope you will be inspired by our actions to gain a sense of the whole as highlighted below.  


Jennie K. Curits

Interim Executive Director 

IPP in the News

Ex-marketing exec finds satisfaction teaching yoga to prison inmates
(Marin Independent Journal): JAMES FOX, 60, of Bolinas quit a lucrative job as director of marketing for a prominent wine company while in his 40s to search for more satisfying work. Today, he teaches yoga and "mindfulness" practices to inmates at San Quentin State Prison and serves as programs director for the San Rafael-based Insight Prison Project. Click here for complete story

Fox - Marin IJ article 07/2011 
James Fox stands outside San Quentin State Prison in San Quentin. Fox teaches a yoga class inside the prison. (IJ photo/Alan Dep)
Events and Happenings Inside San Quentin
Dan Millman Speaks to Prisoners at San Quentin

On July 11,  IPP hosted
Dan Millman 2011-07
Dan Millman talks to San Quentin inmates 
a special event for prisoners at San Quentin, "Way of the Peaceful Warrior" with Dan Millman. Dan is the author of numerous books including The Way of the Peaceful Warrior, a book for which a major motion picture was made. He is a former world champion gymnast, coach, martial arts instructor and college professor, who spoke with the men about an approach to living that embraces awareness, compassion and self-discipline toward leading life with a grateful heart and a warrior spirit.   

Thank you to Dominic Colacchio for volunteering to take pictures at the event. 

IPP Celebrates Graduating Classes

Comprehensive Curriculum: Congratulations to the nine determinate sentenced men in H Unit that completed an eight month IPP comprehensive curriculum course. In completing this program the men have learned, practiced and demonstrated the important life skills of personal accountability, emotional literacy, critical thinking, impulse control and conflict resolution. 


Victim Offender Education Group (VOEG): Congratulations to the sixteen lifers in VOEG groups facilitated by Rochelle Edwards and Jack Dison that completed an intensive 64 week VOEG program. This group includes holding oneself accountable for their crimes and meeting with a panel of survivors to hear their stories to understand the impact of crime in their lives.  

Training Opportunities
Yoga Facilitator Training: The weekend of September 10 & 11, James Fox conducted a special IPP facilitator training at CorePower Yoga in Berkeley for yoga teachers interested in teaching in prisons and rehabilitation facilities. Twenty two yogini's were in attendance, several who are already working with incarcerated or at-risk populations or have the opportunity to do so.

Restorative Justice Facilitator Training - In September, ten people participated in IPP's Restorative Justice Phase 1 Facilitator Training. This is the starting point for all trainees seeking an understanding of IPP's philosophy, methodology and facilitation model.


Upcoming Restorative Justice Facilitator Trainings

  • Phase 2: VOEG Intensive Curriculum and Implementation Training October 26 - 29, 2011
  • Phase 3: Advanced VOEG Facilitation Training and Case Consultation February 23 - 25, 2012
  • Phase 1: IPP Basic Facilitation Skills Training (5-Day) Spring 2012 (dates will be announced in early 2012)
  • Victim Offender Dialogue (VOD) Mediator Training (5-Day): February 6 - 10, 2012.  
For more information, please visit our website  or send an email to info@InsightPrisonProject.org.  
Volunteer Spotlight -
Learning Assessment Committee (LAC)

During the 2010/11 FY Insight Prison Project formed an interdisciplinary assessment committee to act in an advisory capacity regarding assessment of program effectiveness by supporting assessment of learning outcomes in our classes.  The members of the LAC are: 

  • IPP staff liaison (Jaimee Karroll)
  • Prisoner rights attorney and a full time graduate student in social psychology at the University of California, Santa Cruz (Tom Nolan)
  • College faculty (Lynn Cooper, Professor Emeritus, and Teiahsha Bankhead, Associate Professor and Graduate Program Director in the Division of Social Work at Sacramento State University)
  • Graduate of the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley (Becky Lo Dolce, criminal justice policy analyst, currently a Senior Administrative Analyst at San Francisco Adult Probation)
  • Doctoral Student in Clinical Psychology at Alliant International University, California School of Professional Psychology (Kathryn Langley)

The Committee has been engaged in discussion and reflection about the challenges of evaluating learning in a prison setting and has supported the revision of course learning outcomes (based on Blooms Taxonomy of Learning) so that they are measureable. The implementation of pre- and post-learning assessment in some core classes has positioned IPP to better understand course-related outcomes and program effectiveness.  Committee members also spent time syncing our course learning objectives to the CDCR logic model.


IPP is indebted and forever grateful to our exceptional LAC members for their generous 4-8 hours of service per month for the past two years!  We would not be who we are without your continued support!!   

Foundation Update
The Yoga Dana Foundation: Every quarter, the Yoga Dana Foundation selects a grantee to feature on their website that they believe exemplifies their mission and objective. This quarter, Insight Prison Project is the featured program! Check out the Yoga Dana Foundation website for more information.


The San Francisco Foundation: Once again The San Francisco Foundation has  honored us by supporting our efforts to provide cognitive rehabilitation programs for incarcerated individuals with the California Prison System that positively affect rates of institutional violence, successful and safe reentry into Bay Area communities and individual health and well being.


The Society for Community Work: In 2011-2012, the Society for Community Work added Insight Prison Project to the list of organizations they support in the community who provide services in keeping with their values.