With the right support, people can reinvent themselves. The transformation of inmates are real.
Support for inmates comes in different forms, from various people, volunteers, organizations, and governments. Success stories are reported from multiple countries. Here are just a few of them.
When inmates' dreams are (re)ignited, much like us, they will find a way to succeed and reduce recidivism. Not only do they benefit, but so do their families and communities. They also become the biggest advocates and best models for people at risk of offending.
Let their stories inspire all of us: dare to dream and succeed. We hope you will see new possibilities for yourself and the inmates.
Jose Alejandro Vivar, once a Canadian inmate and a drug kingpin turned his life around while in prison and pursued his dream of making a difference through fitness coaching.
Watch this 45-minute documentary on Jose Alejandro Vivar. Learn how he turned his life around while he was in prison and created a dream that he pursued when he became a free man.
Toastmasters International is a nonprofit educational organization that teaches members public speaking and leadership skills through a worldwide network of more than 14,700 clubs in 144 countries. Headquartered in Englewood, Colorado, since 1924, Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders.
There are many Toastmasters Clubs initiated and ran by volunteers and inmates. Here are just a few stories about these clubs and the inmates they have touched.
Chuck Rabaut is 88 years old, has been a member since 1974. His mission is to help inmates improve their lives through Toastmasters. The first club met in 2012. Since then, prison chaplains beseeched Chuck to set up more clubs.
Changing Winds is a Toastmasters club in the Fort Dodge Correctional Facility.
It was initiated and run by inmate James Sourwine who, at the time, had been incarcerated for almost 9 years, with 8 more ahead of him.
An inmate started a club in prison. This article provides some insight into how a Toastmasters club is formed in prison - with the request of inmates and the support of some Toastmasters as volunteers and mentors who make regular visits in prison.
Since 1993, The Tony Robbins Foundation Inmate Empowerment Program has offered correctional facilities support through materials and curriculum designed for incarcerated adults and youths.
The Foundation has provided books, audio and curriculum to over 1,600 correctional facilities in over 9 countries. Participating correctional facilities, juvenile correctional facilities, halfway houses and rehabilitation centers have developed successful programs that give program participants the tools necessary to break their patterns and lead law-abiding lives for the betterment of society.
The International Bodhisattva Sangha (IBS) was formally established as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in November 2006. One of their main goals is to educate inmates in the state prions about Buddhism, meditation, and right way of life. They believe all living beings possess Buddha-nature.
You can see their success stories on their private Facebook group page - https://www.facebook.com/groups/203191003138386
You have to join the Facebook group before you can read the posts.
Paws For Life is a program where inmates, most of them lifers, train service dogs to help military veterans.
Irving Relova, was part of the dog training program. He is now a free man and a good citizen of the communities.
Watch this presentation by Anthony Coleman who spent 23 years in prison since he was 16. He immersed himself in self-help in his last 10 years in prison and saw the benefits.
Mandatory participation in self-help programs is one of his suggestions in his presentation on prison reform.
In the 1990s, Norway's recidivism rate was high: 70% of all released prisoners recommitted crimes within two years of release. Their lawmakers realized the system needed to be reformed, that punishment and lengthy sentences in harsh conditions to send a message to others were not working. Reform they did.
In 2022, Norway's recidivism was 20% within two years of release, the lowest rate in the world, and the number of inmates has been trending down from just under 4,000 in 2016 to just under 3,000 in 2020.
Norway's current legal and prison system: