By Lt. Edward Sanchez, AA/PIO
California State Prison, Corcoran
Thinking for Change recently congratulated its second graduating class on Facility 3B at California State Prison, Corcoran. The inmates in the class learned social skills such as active listening, apologizing and responding to anger.
The next subject the class learned last fall was, Cognitive Self-Change: paying attention to how their thinking affects their responses, recognizing risky thoughts and behaviors that are likely to get them into trouble and how to identify new and different ways of thinking and acting that will help them avoid conflict.
After practicing these skills, the next subject was Problem Solving: learning to take problems they experience every day, such as conflicts with cell mates, family members and staff and develop a more constructive way of dealing with those difficulties.
Members of the class learned by observing the group leader and one of their own members who had already completed the class demonstrate the specific skills they were learning.
They then identified their own problem situations, worked through the process of identifying potential solutions, chose one and acted it out in front of the class with another inmate.
For Inmate Harris, this was the second time through the class, this time as a teacher’s assistant who helped demonstrate the various skills and worked with some of the other inmates to help them complete assignments in between classes.
“This wasn’t just book learning,” said another inmate. “We actually did what we were learning about.”
“The experience I got out of this class was the most helpful thing I have received in all my years in CDCR,” said another inmate.