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The Making Of Ascenders

The Mission of Prison

Mountain climber on peak_edited.jpg

Most serious organizations adopt a mission statement to clarify purpose. What is the mission of prison – the most essential thing to accomplish? Surely it must be more than preventing escapes. We propose the following mission for prison:

"Elevate prisoners from convict to ethical, contributing citizens"

Accomplishment of the mission demands a focus on healing and rebuilding. 

SOME USE PRISON AS A TIMEOUT TO REGROUP

 

Ms. Audrey: 

“I started smoking marijuana at 12. This is my 3rd time in prison. I am now transforming due to prison. I was in serious need of a personal audit and timeout.”

Mr. Sergio: 

“Before I got incarcerated, I never made a pause on my life. I needed a huge wake-up call. Prison may be a detour in my life, but if I follow Mandela’s example, I can realize it is just that: a detourand not a devastating end to life.”

                  

Mr. Kash: 

“I wasn’t arrested. I was rescued.”

Mr. Marshall provides a summation: 

“Prison is like a pitstop on the way to winning the race.”

 

SOME HOPE FOR A PERSONAL HOSPITAL FOR HEALING

Mr. Eddy: 

“The spiritual therapy I needed was difficult and hurt like hell. But, like most hard and painful experiences, I am emerging from the bandages of this institution changed for the better. The scars still hurt at times, but the pain is a blessing. I don’t view prison as a prison, but as a hospital or school for the sick and those who have lost their way.”

Mr. Brayton: 

“I used to view prison as the train wreck of my life. Yet, I have discovered the person I once was before burying him with loads of worldly crap and addiction. Coming to prison has brought me face to face with my past and the monster staring back at me in the mirror. Prison has pressed my face against the glass of life and has shown me who I was, who I could have been, who I might yet be. It wasn’t until coming to prison, the makeshift battlefield hospital, that I received the needed treatment and medicine to start turning the tide in the war of my life. Prison is like being in a spiritual hospital.”

 

Ms. Carmen: 

“Everything I know is wrong; everything I’ve ever believed in was misguided. Prison is a place where you can lose yourself or a place where you find yourself. I personally like to call this ‘God’s hospital,’ a place, if you choose, that can make you better.”

 

Mr. Ray: 

“Prison can be a chrysalis where one is transformed, to be released as a new and beautiful being.”

 

MANY ARE HOPEFUL OF TREATMENT FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE

Mr. Layne: 

“One of the issues I deal with is substance abuse. This is a result of deep feelings of self-doubt, disappointment, low self-esteem, guilt, and other negative emotions that I am trying to escape from. I acquired drug use as a coping mechanism.”

Mr. Clay: 

“I struggle with drugs – heroin mostly and meth. I use them to escape from what I feel inside, which is empty, worthless, alone, scared, helpless, and guilty.”

 

SOME OF THE LOST ARE HOPEFUL OF FINDING MEANING AND PURPOSE

Mr. Craig: 

“My worst fear is to fall into the hopeless rut I see so many have fallen into. I don’t want to be worse when I leave than I was when I entered. This is what I see happen to so many.”

Ms. Lydia: 

“Right before my arrest, I lost all hope entirely. Now, hope is all I have. I want to be forever changed in the best way possible so that I never again get to the dark place that got me here. If I lose sight of a better tomorrow, I will self-destruct.”

Mr. Jabari: 

“If there is one thing that will keep me sober and out of prison, it will be to find my purpose in life and pursue it. I think all the blessings that life has to offer can be achieved beginning with that one goal. I think it would be the greatest tragedy of all for a man to go to prison and not leave with a purpose – a mission.”

 

SOME IGNORE EDUCATION, OTHERS ARE HOPEFUL

According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 68% of prisoners entering state prisons had not received a high school diploma. Most prisons provide opportunities for prisoners to obtain a GED or high school diploma. Most prisoners don’t take advantage of the opportunity. Some do and some are hopeful of college opportunity.

 

Mr. Zach: 

“Education opens doors to those who feel unworthy to open them.”

Mr. Kevin: 

“College courses do more for me and my self-esteem here than anything else ever could.”

 

SOCIETY’S STANDARDS OF EXCELLENCE

95% of prisoners will be released back into society. To achieve the prison mission, PrisonEd believes there are specific objectives to be achieved by prisoners seeking to be ethical, contributing citizens.

 

We refer to them as society’s standards of excellence:

 

Character – Possesses integrity, reliability, honesty, and the absence of addiction.

Teamwork – Promotes the well-being of others; works harmoniously, productively, and respectfully in teams; maintains a positive attitude.

Self-Directed – Has a self-directed work ethic; takes initiative for achievement; has a learning mindset.

Literacy – Skilled in reading, basic math, written and verbal communication, and basic computer skills.

Occupational Skill – training and successful hands-on work experience in an occupational area of need. 

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