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2012 Accomplishments

The Year of the Water Dragon was an exciting and action packed year for PDN/PMI. Here are some of our accomplishments during the past year:

Groundbreaking Prison Staff Training

This year we launched the first mindfulness-based prison staff development training and research study in the U.S. We are almost a year into this one-year pilot study with a group of 23 correctional counselors, probation & parole officers, clinical social workers, and discharge planners. The National Institute of Corrections (Dept. of Justice) has provided some financial assistance for this innovative corrections staff development program that includes mindfulness-based emotional intelligence (MBEI) training integrated with a mindfulness-based approach to Motivational Interviewing (MI).

Mindfulness in Corrections – Research Based Programming Continues Our new ten-year goal is to establish secular, mindfulness-based interventions (MBI’s) as best practices in mainstream correctional programming for both prisoners and corrections staff. We envision mindfulness-based education, rehabilitation, drug & alcohol treatment, pre-release, post-release and at-risk youth programs. We also envision mindfulness-based prison staff training and wellness programs. In order to accomplish this, we must first establish programs, like our mindfulness-based Path of Freedom™ curriculum, as evidence-based practice for the field of corrections, and this requires high quality, scientifically sound research. In just two years, we have established four Path of Freedom programs in men’s and women’s RIDOC facilities and a mindfulness-based staff training for RIDOC correctional counselors and probation & parole officers.

Our Research Team In 2011, we launched a five-year research initiative approved by the RIDOC designed to study the impact and effectiveness of our Path of Freedom™ curriculum. We put together a team of established mindfulness-based intervention and prison researchers from Brown and Harvard Universities, Rhode Island College and the University of Rhode Island to assure a first-rate scientific research program. Over five years, this study will include 400 to 500 female and male prisoners. This fall we are also launching a Path of Freedom based pre-release intervention and post-release follow-up pilot study with soon to be released prisoners as part of an NIH grant proposal for a much larger 5-year pre-release/post-release study.

Encouraging Research Results

This fall our research director sent us encouraging and exciting preliminary results based on the data from year one of our five-year Path of Freedom study that indicated significant reductions in violent behaviors and institutional infractions, lower anxiety scores and higher emotional intelligence scores.

Path of Freedom Training: RI DOC

We continue to deliver several programs at the ACI in Rhode Island. Two groups of 40 men attended our Path of Freedom 12 unit training in the Spring and Fall semesters at Men’s medium. Another group of 30 or so men attended the same session at Mens’ minimum. Both classes have waiting lists.

Our Path of Freedom class at the Women’s medium Fall and Spring sessions were attended by 25 women (waiting list also).

Womens Program CD Research Project

This fall we added a new component and research study to our womens program at the ACI. We created meditation CD’s with our Path of Freedom meditations on them. These CD’s were given to all the women in the class and research is being conducted. The meditations follow each session of the Path of Freedom curriculum that the women are learning in the weekly classes. So far the women have reported that the CD’s are very helpful for them to focus, get better sleep, deal with pain and just generally to relax. We will continue this research study in the Spring. Results will be posted on our blog as they roll in.

Books Behind Bars

As always we continue to send literally thousands of books each and every year to prisoners and prison chaplains. Thank you for all your book donations! These books mean so much to the prisoners. We continually receive thank you letters from them about how much these books help the.

We ran three Path of Freedom Webinars in 2012 which 82 people attended. This training is always lively and rich in discussion and engagement. Here are a few quotes from participants: “So it’s a really powerful six weeks – I got a lot more out of it than I expected, that I can apply in business, relationships, mentoring and coaching teenagers at the High School. I’m actually really impressed. I can think of all kinds of applications.”

“ I feel very empowered by the training – it goes way beyond what I expected it to be. I feel that I can apply everything that I’ve learned in my work already as a coach, and I’m really looking forward to finding ways to use this as well in my community in volunteer work. Because I’m not there yet, I don’t have clear ideas of how I’m going to use it, but I definitely want to use it.”

“ I just so appreciate just the format and the structure of the course, the workbook — the fact that each session was organized and we had some goals, because I have often felt when I was doing my former classes that in the prison that I was just kind of pulling things piecemeal from the Web, and I’m so thankful for the structure and the additional ideas for, you know, topics to discuss, as well as the meditation. So thank you very much, and I’m looking forward to continuing my work in the prison system here and I’ll weave in components of your program.”

NEW Path of Freedom Workbook

We completed a revision of our Path of Freedom workbook which is used by our trained facilitators and all who have attended our webinars.

Dharma in Hell Is now available in the Amazon Kindle Store.

We are looking forward to the new Year of the Water Snake with great anticipation that we will continue to see our programs flourish and serve.

Your support is greatly appreciated by us and all the folks we serve!

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