Waking Up In Jail

Program 110 • 29 mins


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Nearly half of criminals released from prison are arrested again within three years. Through that revolving door, they return to a correctional system that is often overcrowded and ridden with violence. Polls show that the vast majority of citizens now favor rehabilitation services for inmates as opposed to a punishment-only system. And yet, as our prison population has swollen, rehabilitation programs have in many communities been cut back. In this dark and frightening tunnel, one beam of light emanates from Robin Casarjian, a counselor and educator based near Boston who goes into prisons to help people heal. To help break the cycle of crime and recidivism, Robin drew on her experience as a therapist. In 1988 she began volunteering with incarcerated men and women, a project that evolved into the Lionheart Foundation in Boston. Her aim is to teach troubled prisoners what she calls “emotional literacy”, the ability to read, understand and manage their feelings in a mature way. More than 50,000 copies of her book, “Houses of Healing” have been donated to inmates at 200 prisons and jails throughout the United States.

Well I think that people go into prison, I would say, with a case of mistaken identity about themselves. They don’t really know who they are.”

—Robin Casarjian


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