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Teams Of Ascenders

Working With Like-Minded Others


Of course, there are prisoners who are disruptors, who obstruct and interfere with the positive possibilities of others.

That is unacceptable and these prisoners are to be worked with in their own setting. It is essential that prisoners who are ready to elevate their lives also have a setting with associates who accelerate hope and achievement.

A team is a group of people involved in a joint activity, purpose, or cause. For prisoners ready to move their lives in a positive direction, working with like-minded others accelerates the process. 



Mr. Dustin: 

“We have a strong brotherhood in my section that I didn’t think I would find in prison. In here, it doesn’t matter about your background. We all help each other through this with love, joy, and compassion.”


Mr. Dillon: “In prison, I have found common strife has bonded us inmates together in ways only this shared experience sadly does. We are so open with each other, with our own experiences, insights, and flaws, and with very little judgment or criticism. We are more free to help, encourage, and nurture each other. We help each other succeed so that when we leave prison, we are better people because of it. We are each our brother’s keeper.”

Mr. Kobe: 

“I have a few friends that I am around that have no problem telling me I am messing up and also giving me encouragement. These men in white are my family. We suffer together so we can heal together.”

Ms. Rachel: 

“In the past, I have been around people that put me down. I need to surround myself with people who are examples of faith. You might think that would be hard in a prison setting, but this is a place of healing where women can be raw, real, and vulnerable, and this is where faith is amazing.”


Ms. Anna: 

“The girls have formed study groups, so they don’t mind sharing the books you send. Lots of tears have been shared over the stories. It’s an amazing sight. The vibe has changed here and it makes me feel good to see the women being productive. Attitudes and views are evolving. The conversations have substance. It’s beautiful.”


Sometimes Teams of Ascenders emerge spontaneously. Mostly, they are a result of careful placement of prisoners by correction officers.





I read with interest of a college program instituted at San Quentin prison. I remember a prisoner comment: “In other institutions, we were used to talking about gang activity, violence, knives, drugs, the next riot. In San Quentin, the conversations were often about what classes they were taking, how to write a thesis, or how to defend an argument.” 

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