Inmates Response

Response from inmates

In Maine, the inmates response has been very positive. The willingness of participants to take risks, to explore difficult issues, and to support one another has been remarkable.

Over and over again, inmates have demonstrated courage in looking at the patterns of abuse and destructiveness in their lives and how they’ve contributed to that pattern as adults.

Many have also been highly motivated to changing the way they communicate and resolve patterns.

When two board members from the Maine Women’s Fund came into Cumberland County Jail several years ago to interview women who’d participated in the program and see whether this was a program the fund wished to support, they were so struck by the passion of the women describing what AVP had done for their lives, that they suggested we increase the amount of money we’d asked for in a grant.

Over the past five years, Maine facilitators have learned a great deal about how to help inmates sustain and support the new insights and skills they acquire during a workshop to life between workshops and on into life in the world outside.

Facilitators in Maine have also been steadily developing an awareness of how to design workshops that meet the different needs of men and women.

Throughout the process, the formation of strongly supportive groups is central to the success of the program. At its best, these weekend groups move beyond the weekend into the formation of stronger and more supportive communities within the prison walls.

It is the support of these short or longer term prison communities and the safety they bring, which enables individuals to have the courage to dig deeper into themselves and ask the questions they need to ask to bring about permanent changes in their lives.

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