For those of you who did not get enough from the five-minute introduction video on our HOME page, please see the longer version, which takes you deeper into the program and shows the compilation of speeches made in 2011 during the GRIP Graduation.
Insight-Out's GRIP Program: Guiding Rage into Power.
(A Comprehensive Offender Accountability Program)
The G.R.I.P program has been developed over 17 years of direct work with thousands of prisoners, mostly with violent offenders in San Quentin State Prison. This program offers an in-depth journey where the participants’ are able to understand and transform their violent behavior and replaces it with an attitude of mindfulness and emotional intelligence. This 1-year program helps participants to comprehend the origins of their violence and develop the skills to track and manage strong impulses before they act out in destructive ways. Students become “emotionally literate” by fully understanding feelings of anger and rage, learning to recognize the body signals that accompany those emotions, and engage in a process to stop and discharge the buildup of tension in a safe manner. This program enables participants to identify and communicate the feelings that are masked by anger (such as sadness, fear and shame) and process them. Students also develop the skills to understand and express the unmet needs that are covered up by the experience of rage.
The GRIP Program has a distinct focus. Most rehabilitation programs singularly zero in on either academic, vocational purposes or addiction recovery. These are important efforts, yet they could be optimized if the root causes of what leads someone to offend were addressed directly. Our methodology consists of a transformational re-education modality that commits the participants to a process of deep self-inquiry and healing. The program examines the origins of criminogenic conduct and undoes the characteristic destructive behavioral patterns (including addiction) that lead to transgressions.
Participants learn to:
The program is a trauma treatment based model that integrates the latest brain research. One of the goals of the program is to heal the unprocessed pain from which people lash out. Participants partake in a process of creating an inventory of ‘unfinished business’ that relates to traumatic experiences that have become formative defense mechanisms which generate triggered reactions. The also make a personal history of ‘violence suffered’ and ‘violence perpetrated’ to gain insight into origins and patterns of behavior. Students sign a pledge to become a non-violent person and a peacemaker.
A major component of the program is that it functions as a peer education model where experienced students co-facilitate the classes and mentor newer students. All participants are to become fully engaged as integral stakeholders of the program. The program employs a methodology that is called ‘normative culture’ wherein the students cultivate intrinsic motivation by being actively involved in both setting and enforcing the standards and norms that are integral to the course. This central value of the program ensures maximum ownership of the participants for their own learning process.
Through its status as a service provider through Marin Probation Department, the program is certified to meet the needs of parolees that must take a 52 week court ordered domestic violence program before their release into the community. It also is able to certify prisoners as facilitators of domestic violence as a job skill. The program actively interacts with the community by inviting in guest teachers, victims, prison officials, law enforcement and other community members.
The program integrates three principal modalities: Instruction functions as a means to teach the information that is crucial to the program’s theoretical framework. Process refers to the various exercises employed to work with a deep layer of emotional material that must be acknowledged, expressed and integrated in order for insight and understanding to occur. Practice anchors the acquired insights into a durable behavior by spending time learning how to embody what has been learned. Practicing the GRIP tools makes the insight operational as a behavioral skill set.
Prisoners participating in the GRIP Program sign the GRIP Pledge when they start the program. They sign it as students and learn how to keep the peace-maker pledge while they participate in the year of classes ahead of them. Upon graduation, in the company of the larger community, they sign the pledge once more, but this time for life. The GRIP Pledge signals a gift to the community, both inside prison and outside of prison. It is a gift that says, "I am a safe person and will not engage in violent behavior. Furthermore, I will utilize my skills to resolve conflict in my community and be a resource for peace."
GRIP: Read an excerpt of the work in action: "Leaving Prison Before You Get Out."