Universal Education in Prisons
David Machles, from North Carolina, USA, began his journey into the 16 Guidelines in 2008. He felt inspired to offer the 16G program in prisons working with adult and juvenile prisoners as well as staff and volunteers. He developed a 16G for prisoners curriculum called Building Inner Strength.
"We chose the course title “Building Inner Strength” with the help of the chaplain at the youth prison center. We felt that this was more of a macho name, yet still reflects the spirit of the 16Gs. Sometimes the class is referred to as “meditation class”. Other names may be appropriate in different settings, including Anger Management, Guide to Happiness or Well-Being, etc."
One of the teenage participants of David's program had a very difficult relationship with a prison guard. David suggested using the16G pre-framing tool to see how it could influence the next encounter with the guard. David kept it light – just try this to see if it makes a difference, can’t make it any worse. The juvenile was surprised at how his relationship with the guard gradually changed. He saw that the 16G actually worked. David says:-
“We have taken a very secular approach to using the 16Gs. We have been accepted by the managers, administrative staff, and parents because we take this secular approach.
Throughout the program we keep this neutrality and encourage the students to find examples of the Guidelines within their own spiritual upbringing. Certainly the role models used in the 16G book represent a variety of spiritual backgrounds."
If you feel inspired to offer 16G in prisons to staff, volunteers or prisoners, please contact us to receive the materials David is generously sharing with the 16G Faculty.