Educational services for incarcerated male offenders
Transformation Journey, Inc. provides educational services for incarcerated male offenders in preparation for their transition back into public life and is currently being offered at Foothills Minimum Custody Unit (FMCU). All the inmates are invited to attend an informational meeting prior to the new semester. Those interested can register for the semester. Class size is limited to 20 students, giving priority to those being released in the next 6-12 months. The Semester consists of a 13 week curriculum, meeting weekly in two-hour sessions focusing on critical life skills necessary for these individuals to make a successful transition back into society and ultimately reduce the rate of recidivism. All the material presented is Biblically based and Christ centered. A typical class schedule is shown below and may be modified to suit the students in any given semester.
Program participants (inmates) work in a team with class advisors (volunteers). Class sessions are informal, using a variety of presentation formats by a several different instructors. Students are given the opportunity and encouraged to be contributing participants. They have an opportunity to work in teams, share ideas, express their own questions, concerns, etc. Each team of 3-4 students has a class advisor who facilitates their Table Talk times.
Week 1: Introduction to Transformation Journey Romans 12:2, Philippians 1:6
Week 2: “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” – John Maxwell Seminar
Week 3: Forgiveness
Week 4: Building Self Esteem
Week 5: Building Lasting Relationships Part 1 – Marriage
Week 6: Building Lasting Relationships – Part 2 – children, extended family, co-workers, etc.
Week 7: FELLOWSHIP NIGHT – Pastors’ Panel
Week 8: Employment Strategies, Part 1
WEEK 9: Employment Strategies, Part 2
Week 10: Employment Strategies Workshop
Week 11: Money Management from the Bible –
Week 12: Practical Living, Am I being a Christian when I……..?
Week 13 : Graduation and Certificate Dinner.
1. Orientation Meeting
This gives prospective students the opportunity to learn about Transformation Journey in a non-pressured setting. The purposes of the course are discussed along with class expectations and requirements. Class formats and scheduled are also discussed. Volunteers share a bit about themselves and why they are involved with prisoner ministry.
2. Introduction to the Journey of Transformation
In this class the basics of the courses are discussed and supplies for the students given out and explained. Reminders of class formats and scheduled are reinforced as well. The foundational Scriptures of Transformation Journey (Romans 12:1 & 2) are studied in the second half of the class with an altar call given at the end of the message.
Here the concept, reasons, and applications of forgiveness are discussed. In this deeply personal class the students are strongly encouraged to forgive each other, those that hurt them in the past, and to forgive themselves. They are taught that God’s forgiveness knows no exceptions and is available to all.
4. “15 Invaluable Laws of Growth” – John Maxwell Seminar
In this class personal growth is the main focus with emphasis how to self – reflect and grow intentionally. Taking consistent actions, tailoring one’s growth to match goals, and having the proper character traits are discussed. 15 primary topics are taught along with their spiritual equivalents.
5. Self Esteem
Learning to have faith in oneself is the focus in this class. Students learn who and how they are in Christ Jesus and realize their value to Him, to the world, and to themselves. This personal rebuilding class gives Scripture backing for who they and whose they are. Ways to reinforce self esteem are also discussed.
This three part class deals with ways to find employment, what to do and what not to do in regards to resumes, filling out applications, how to interview, and what all the above entails. Students are encouraged to realize and write down skills that will help them secure employment, what jobs they should be looking for, and what benefits are available to them and to employers in terms of tax credits and various bondings.
7. Addictions – You Have Options!
This class covers the various addictions and how to overcome them. Spiritual causes and effects of addictions are discussed and the ways of escape are taught in detail.
8. Being A Man!
This class covers what it means to be a man of God. Manhood is defined and discussed as well as how to stay true to manly principles in the current world. How to treat people properly and how to demonstrate Christian manhood is covered as well. Learning what kind of man God wants them to be.
9. Building Lasting Relationships, Part 1: Marriage
The first of a two part series on relationships explores marriage from a Christian standpoint, as well as the expectation in general of husbands and wives. Things to expect before and during marriage are discussed, in addition what to look for in a wife and what to be as a husband are covered.
10. Building Lasting Relationships, Part 2: Children, Extended Family, co-workers, etc
The second of a two part series on relationships covers relationships with children (biological and adopted), extended family members such as in laws, step children, and blended family members. Workplace relationships are also explored and all topics involve relating to people after having been incarcerated for extended periods of time.
11. Money Management from the Bible
In this class the making, handling, and keeping of money is taught. Students learn about tithes and offerings, saving money, and budgeting. Students are encouraged to practice making a monthly budget and establishing ways to stick to it.
12. Housing Opportunities and Navigating After Release.
This class covers the types of available housing post release and what to expect upon leaving prison, and what all to do after release such as but not limited to securing a driver’s license, social security card, legal papers a student had before incarceration, purchasing a car, and finding a church.
13. Graduation and Certificate Dinner
On the last day of the semester several types of certificates are given to the students based on their attendance and performance in the classes. This gives them something tangible for both their own edification and as something to put in their employment portfolios. There is also a dinner provided by the volunteers to end the term on a high note.