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Path of Freedom: July Reports from the Field

The following quotations were gathered from facilitators offering the Path of Freedom (POF) curriculum around the U.S.. This month’s collection highlights the benefits reported by participants. Their comments show how they look forward to attend and apply POF practices in their daily lives. They believe the skills they learn, such as reducing stress, compliment the goals they pursue through mental health treatment. They appreciate the way the self-understanding they cultivate helps them avoid fights and stay out of trouble.

Rhode Island High Security

One guy from my last class missed a few sessions so did homework for makeup and wrote: “I feel that mindfulness truly benefits me because when I’m upset or I have a lot on my mind I would isolate myself in my cell and do the practice and release some energy that way rather than walk around mad all day and end up getting into a fight” “I truly enjoy the practice itself and I believe that the practice is the reason why I stay out of trouble this long. It helps keep my stress level down and it helps clear my mind and keeps me relax.”

Rhode Island Prisoner-Facilitator Training

One guy who works in the ed building stopped in the class to say how much he wanted to be in the next class and he feels like the class would help him continue to do the work that he started with counselors who left. Then walking out I ran into a guy from our Tuesday night class who called himself a “fish out of water” on the first night. He said that he’s been trying to help a friend dealing with depression by using what he’s learning but that he really wanted to get him into the next class. Then after another 10 feet I ran into another participant who said that he was so bummed that they had canceled class last week because he had been super excited for it all week. “I was re-reading the chapter and I came across that Oprah Winfrey quote (“If you don’t heal the wounds of your childhood, you bleed into the future”) and I just stopped and looked at it for 20 minutes saying to myself, ‘that’s me, that’s me’.”

Allegheny County Jail, Pittsburgh, PA

“You got to try to stay positive. If you have positive goals in your life, you’re less likely to go into drama.” After discussing how to work with difficult emotions in the Transforming Pain unit, a participant said “It’s good to know there’s a different way I can deal with anger and stress than I usually do.” After practicing straw breathing, a participant said “That breathing calmed me down. I was feeling kind of jittery.”

Rhode Island Men’s Medium

We all appreciate the time here, and would even if it was just ten minutes. This class has allowed me to change my time here – l’m less reactive to other inmates and the environment and I’m in less pain.
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