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Behind the Wall

The Araminta Ross Foundation's signature program, Prison to Productivity, is a trauma-informed curriculum designed to equip incarcerated individuals with six months or less on their sentence with mindfulness-based techniques and dialectical behavior skills to support successful re-entry upon release.

Through the use of research-driven approaches to behavior change, and insights from other incarcerated individuals, Prison to Productivity has been widely embraced by jail and prison staff, justice-impacted men and women, and the community.

 

The program also comprehensively addresses many of the issues that lead to an individual’s incarceration including the lasting impact of early childhood trauma and the legacies of intergenerational abuse, incarceration, and substance use. 

The program provides participants: 

  • Job readiness skills

  • Social, and emotional support 

  • Family Reunification (healthy communication and healing injured relationships)

  • DBT Group practices (mindfulness/anger management)

  • Financial Literacy (learning the basics of managing finances through knowing the difference between wants and needs, saving, and establishing credit)

  • Connection to community resources, substance misuse programs, and housing

Education Modules

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Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Designed by Marsha Linehan, TARF uses a dialectical behavioral curriculum to focus on helping people accept the reality of their lives as well as helping them learn to change their unhelpful behaviors.

 

DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in four key areas. 

First, mindfulness focuses on improving an individual's ability to accept and be present in the current moment. Second, distress tolerance is geared toward increasing a person’s tolerance of negative emotion, rather than trying to escape from it. Third, emotion regulation covers strategies to manage and change intense emotions that are causing problems in a person’s life. Fourth, interpersonal effectiveness consists of techniques that allow a person to communicate with others in a way that is assertive, maintains self-respect, and strengthens relationships.

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Financial Literacy

TARF assists in preparing incarcerated individuals to 

gain financial independence. This module teaches strategies to target the financial deficits incarcerated individuals face including:

  • avoiding financial pitfalls

  • using a checking account

  • methods for beginning to save for the future

  • understanding the use of credit and loans

  • creating a budget

  • accessing financial resources

A 2017 RAND report found that incarcerated individuals who participate in education programs (like financial literacy programs) were 43% less likely to return to prison. They also concluded these individuals were 13% more likely to find employment after their release.

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Employment Readiness

This module equips individuals with the tools needed to obtain suitable employment, establish career goals, and maintain career progression.

 

Topics include, but are not limited to:

  • Job Search Strategies:

  • Effective resume writing

  • Interview techniques  

 

In addition to skills training, the workforce re-entry program will provide parolees with employment and community mentors who have firsthand knowledge about life after incarceration. 

This allows us to focus more on the impact of inmates re-entering society by creating a more specific path for each individual in the program.

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Family Reunification

The goal of the program is to preserve, enhance, and strengthen family ties that have been disrupted as a result of incarceration. 

 

The program focuses both on exploring ways that family members could support the person coming home and on helping them anticipate and, if possible, resolve problems that might otherwise surface after they were together in the community.

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