Prison Possibilities, Inc.

Prison Possibilities, Inc. was an independent non-profit organization that enabled men and women in prisons to alter their predictable futures. This organization’s programs demonstrated concrete results in significantly lowering the rate of re arrest and imprisonment among those inmates who participated. A number of the inmates who participated in the programs continue to this day to make the program available to others.

The est Training was originally donated to inmates at the Lompoc Federal Penitentiary in July 1974. In his article, “est in Prison,” Earl Babbie, Ph.D. interviewed inmates and prison staff who had done the est Training, and writes:

Most of the inmates interviewed reported changes in their relationships with others. Some spoke of getting along better with fellow inmates – reporting more open and honest interactions with fewer conflicts.

One inmate spoke of walking around, or away from, confrontations. Some spoke of having very different relationships with prison officials. Several said they now regarded the corrections officers and other staff as merely being people with a job to do.

One described an unsuccessful attempt to establish a new educational program at Lompoc. He felt that prior to the training he would have retreated into animosity toward the officials; now he is looking at new ways of proposing the program, answering the previous objections.

Several of the staff members I interviewed confirmed the general improvement in social relationships among the est graduates. Many gave specific examples of inmates who had been in constant conflict with other inmates and with staff prior to the training and who subsequently had totally changed.

Keohane summed it up by saying “It just seems fewer of them get in trouble after they’ve gone through
the training, even if they’ve been troublesome since the time they got here. They become more responsible.”

-excerpted from “est in Prison” by Earl Babbie, Ph.D., published in American Journal of Correction, Dec 1977

-also see “The est Training in Prisons” by Mark Woodard, published in The University of Baltimore Law Journal, 1982

-and “Getting “it” in Prison, by Neal Rogin, published in The Graduate Review, Jun 1978

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