Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Seminar at Carroll County Jail -- New Hampshire

It's seldom we meet the administration of a correctional facility, let alone have them attend our seminar, but that’s what happened recently at Carroll County Jail in Ossipee, New Hampshire.

Although only 8 male inmates showed up, that’s 13 percent of their population, since there are only about 60 men and women at the jail. (None of the female inmates signed up to attend.) Five staff and administrators also attended our presentation. Many times, the presence of the administration would stifle the inmates’ participation, but that didn’t happen there.

Our contributing author, Lynn Durham, from New Hampshire also shared the presentation with us. The rapport and connection with the inmates was intense and heartfelt. That seldom happens at such a deep level. Perhaps it was because it was such a small group, and we had more than two hours together. After the seminar, the superintendent bought 36 of our books, which was totally unexpected. These included "Serving Time, Serving Others" and our newest book "Serving Productive Time."

The next day, we received messages from both the superintendent and captain with the following feedback:

“Again, thank you for contacting us and requesting this. I along with the Captain called the inmates that you met with back into the visiting room after dinner and spoke to them to get their thoughts. All the inmates thanked us for allowing this to happen and all had positive feedback.

I asked the inmates to put some of their thoughts on paper, to which they did. The Captain will be typing those comments up later today and sending them to you via e-mail so you can see how the inmates responded. All the inmates enjoyed receiving a copy of the book. I also informed them that we will be receiving 24 more.

I will be bringing the inmates' comments to the County Commissioner's Meeting with me next week so they can see how this impacted the inmates. As I said yesterday, if you are back in New Hampshire and wish to do this event again, please feel free to contact us.”

“Thanks again Tom, Lynn, Laura for what you do on a daily basis and including our facility in it. Below you will find comments made by the inmates you spoke to today.

John O.
“The class today was very informative. I left feeling lifted and ready to finish my bid on a positive note. If I apply what I learned today I more than likely will not return to prison.”

Ronald B.
“I really believe that the group meeting with Lynn, Tom Lagana and his wife Laura Lagana was very informative, uplifting and positive. It got me to look at myself in a much more positive way. They were very entertaining and I never lost interest at all. Could be a great inspiration for the younger inmates who have had a tougher time in life than I have.”

Phil B.
“I really enjoyed the seminar 'The Winning Recipe for Success.' They were wonderful speakers with an awesome and powerful message . . . a message that is of great importance to youth and adults serving sentences in the justice system. They were very motivational and made the experience extremely enjoyable. Thank you for allowing us to participate in this experience.”

Michael M.
“I really enjoyed listening to them speak. They definitely had some positive things to say that really gave me a better outlook on what I need to do while I am incarcerated and that is to use this time to really reflect on what I am going to do with my life.”

Louis D.
“Got a lot out of class. Came in with a lot of hate and negative attitude and learned how to focus energy in a positive way. Life is short to keep on going on mad and angry. Learned that I could get more out of life by learning not to have a negative outlook.”

Michael A.
“I think that the class was very helpful it gave me a positive outlook on the time I must serve, to keep a positive mood and to treat others with kindness and a good attitude. It was also encouraging. I would recommend this class for future inmates to consider.”

Eric B.
“I felt the seminar was very informative and very beneficial with a lot of useful life skills put into practice in daily life. I can make a positive change.”

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Inside Out Review of
Serving Productive Time

Prison Fellowship's Inside Out has reviewed Serving Productive Time in their August 2009 on-line issue. Please see the link below:


Also see the pdf version at the link below:

Below is an excerpt from a recent letter we received:
“I was reading your book called Serving Productive Time, and let me tell you that I loved all the stories, especially about the little girl that made 31 handmade Christmas cards for inmates. I can’t believe that a nine-year-old could do something like that. I am so proud of that little girl.”
Sol, inmate
West County Detention Facility
Richmond, California

Recently, we presented seminars at three prisons near the Catskill Mountains of New York State on the same very long day. In all more than 200 men and staff attended our sessions at the following institutions:
- Green Correctional Facility (morning)
- Coxsackie Correctional Facility (afternoon)
- Hudson Correctional Facility (evening)