Professional Topics
Correctional Education
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OPEN's efforts to improve public safety are based on education- not as a favor to criminals
but for the good of society. We believe that, if we want offenders to act better after release
from supervision than they did before they were convicted, we must show them how to act
better. And even more important, we must show them that it is in their own best interest to
become responsible, law-abiding citizens. Offenders are much more motivated by
self-interest -- the reward of a positive future -- than they are by any legal punishment we can

The result of this approach is an all-win situation for offenders and their loved ones, whose
lives are improved; for the criminal justice system, which can use our materials to better
achieve its goals; and for society at large, as former criminals become contributing members.

Below are some issues on which OPEN has developed concept papers or provided staff
training and technical assistance.
Transitional Issues
Reentry Staff Briefing
Federal Bureau of Prisons
San Antonio, Texas
A Commitment to Service
Keynote Presentation
State of New Mexico Corrections Department
Statewide Staff Development Conference
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Boxes, Bodies and Bucks
"Crime, Corrections and The Law in New Mexico"
16th New Mexico Town Hall
Keynote Abstract
Recommendations for
Correctional Educators
To best survive and prosper, assume the mind-set of a
cultural anthropologist: be a professional observer -- look,
listen and learn...
No One Trusts Their
Confronting Alienation
For you, dedicated by conviction and profession to positive
development of your clients, this fact sets the stage for a long
menu of conflict and frustration. To get a better handle on
this powerful dynamic, I would like to focus our combined
attention on the dynamic nature and effects of alienation.
Truth is Treasure!
Education's Role in
Truth is hard to come by in our line of work. Even rarer is a
consistent and logical basis for the policies and procedures
we must follow each day. Adult corrections -- driven by the
ever-changing winds of political trends and lacking the
anchor of a positive, universal service objective -- displays its
own unique brand of contradiction and non-reality.
Factors Influential in
Post-Release Success of
- Criminal Justice Involvement
- Awareness and Self Understanding
- Self Control
- Values, Attitude and Self-Image
- Survival Skills and Relationships
- Education and Skills
- Determination and Duty
Barriers to Post-Release
Success of Adult Inmates
- Public Attitudes
- Correctional Philosophy
- Correctional Practice
- Offender Reality
Defining "Success" for
Adult Inmates
"Success" for a person with a felony history is a dynamic
condition of recognizable growth -- a purposeful process of
positive unfolding combined with an expanding sense of
belonging and constructive participation.
Pyschosocial Profiles
Former Inmates
- At Time of Release
- At Five Years, Post - Release
- At Ten Years, Post - Release
Recommendations for
Correctional Policy Makers
The primary goal of imprisonment is "public safety" and the
same is true post-release, but it cannot be achieved by
attempting to extend the controls of prison out into the
Secrets of Success for
Inmates Facing Release
Success demands being adaptable, able to adjust quickly
and effectively to new ways of thinking and acting.  Of the
many tips useful for success, here are some at the top of
the list...
A Fatal Flaw
Three years ago the correctional industry “awoke” to the
long-ignored reality that millions of men and women are
exiting prison and most are failing.  “Failure” defined as
“recidivism” or return to the criminal justice system.
On the Other Side of
And a prisoner learns, too, that survival, on many levels,
becomes the overriding focus of his or her life. But simply
“surviving” gets old -- really old! So you reach a point where
you ask yourself, "why bother?" ...  Why bother to endure the
same ... day after day, year after year? Everything gets so
dirty and so dark.  So why bother?
Impacts of Long-Term
Long-term incarceration produces a mix of highly
conflicting, counter-productive influences which, when
combined into an overall experience, pervert participant
values and diminish skills required for post-release
Recommendations for the
Provision of Treatment to
Long-Term Offenders
Correctional agencies need to develop explicit,
goal-directed, insight-based policy statements concerning
the management of long-term inmates. Care should be
given that policies permit and encourage ongoing, active
development of self-change and human development
opportunities to inmates regardless of length of sentence.
Long-Term Incarceration
Board Only