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Friday, March 28, 2014

Creative Corrections Educations Foundation - provides educational opportunities to disadvantaged children of incarcerated individuals.


Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut 

____________


Creative Corrections Education Foundation
Beaumont, Texas 



The intelligent, heartfelt - and consistent -
online discussion by Jeff Wydeven, 
a board member of the 
Creative Corrections Education Foundation, 
compelled us to find out more 
and bring its message to our readers.

______________________



Creative Corrections Education Foundation
Creative Corrections Education Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization based in Beaumont, Texas that provides new opportunities for at-risk kids of incarcerated parents who otherwise are extremely likely to participate in criminal activities.  By providing the possibility of a better future, including academics, financial, legal and social success, we are able to empower these young men and women to change their lives.  

Mission Statement
CCEF’s mission is to provide educational opportunities to disadvantaged children of incarcerated individuals through scholarships and other creative strategies, in hopes of supporting and enhancing the futures of those children who may not otherwise have other options or alternatives.  Our goal is to promote “Education verses Incarceration”.  Any donation to CCEF will make a tremendous impact on the foundation achieving its goal to reduce second generation crime making communities safer for all.

Statement from Percy and Sununt Pitzer, founders of CCEF: 
“The 30 plus year professional career in corrections has been good to us and we feel very grateful and privileged.  First with the Federal Bureau of Prisons and upon retiring as a Warden, I worked as a Warden in the private sector.  We want to purposely preface this message by expressing gratefulness and serenity, not only in our personal lives, but also in our professional lives.   With that said we are tremendously thrilled and honored to have established what we believe to be an exciting and rewarding undertaking with hopes and full intent of paying forward and giving back to this industry.  We have create a non-profit 501 (c) (3) organization that will provide educational opportunities to disadvantaged children of incarcerated individuals through scholarships and other creative strategies.  Our hope is to provide support and enhance the futures of those children who may not have other options or alternatives.”

Board of Directors
Percy Pitzer, Founder and President of the Board, Executive Vice President and COO of Creative Corrections (Retired Warden), James Rich, Secretary of the Board, President of the Greater Beaumont Chamber of Commerce (Retired Warden), Jeffrey Wydeven, FEMA Disaster Assistance (Retired Correctional Services Administrator),
Dr. Stan Stojkovic, Dean and Professor of Criminal Justice in the Helen Bader School of Social Welfare (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) Wayne Scott, Correctional Consultant, 40 years and former director of  Texas Department of Criminal Justice and Texas Board of Pardons and Paroles.

The Reality
       The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
       1 out of every 100 Americans are in prison -2/3 of these were nonviolent offenses.
       The U.S. keeps prisoners longer than any other country.
       Prisoners cost $1 out of every $15 dollars spent by the U.S., approx. $24,000 a year per prisoner.
       Prison Spending VS Higher Education Spending.  Average cost to hold one prisoner for one year $24,000.  Average cost to send one student to college for a year, including tuition, fees, room and board $17,131.  Though these statistics are powerful, a hidden consequence is the children of these prisoners.  Second generation crime is real and growing.
       As many as 50% of juvenile delinquents are children with a parent who has been behind bars.  Second generation crime is very real and trending upward.  With a system that is locking up more inmates than it is releasing, this is a situation that grows monthly and will continue to impact families and communities while putting a strain on our country’s resources.  It is far less expensive to send someone to college than it is to send someone to prison, which gives the college graduate a purposeful life so he/she can give back to the community.  “It is better to send someone to Yale than it is to Jail.”
       How many people in the U.S. are behind bars?  Few of us in mainstream society have a clear picture of the size and scope of what it takes to protect our way of living.  This year the size of the prison economy will exceed $75 billion in just the states and federal government.
       1 out of every 28 children in the U.S. has a parent behind bars.
       More than 50% of juvenile delinquents have a parent or guardian who is or has been incarcerated.
       In the U.S. alone, 3% of children under the age of 18, has a parent in state or federal prison.
       Today, there are nearly 10 million adults incarcerated, on probation or parole.
       Second generation criminal statistics show staggering likelihood that children of prisoners will end up behind bars too.
       With more than 2.4 million adults incarcerated in federal, state and county jails across the U.S., and more than 7 million additional adults on probation or parole; the mission of Creative Corrections Education Foundation is to focus on the children of these offenders.

The Solution
       The solution is to stop the cycle before it begins.
       By providing scholarships for these children, they will have new choices for their future.
       The scholarship money will go directly to the community colleges, universities or vocational schools where they are enrolled.
       Since June 2012 we have provided 37 scholarships in the amount of $1000 dollars to 19 states and 31 universities.
       By working with parents, counselors, high school teachers, coaches and community leaders, we will reach these children before they follow in the footsteps of their incarcerated parents.
       Providing scholarships to children of those who are or have been in prison can stem the pattern of repeat behavior from parent to child and assure a better tomorrow for these students and our communities.

How inmates can make a difference
       CCEF is asking inmates to donate once a month, the price of a candy bar, to help send a kid of an incarcerated parent to school. 
       Every penny that is donated from an inmate will go directed towards a scholarship.
       No inmate donated funds will be used for overhead cost, administrative fees or staff salaries.

How you can make a difference
       How Donors have the option of funding a scholarship in the name of a loved one.
       Donations can be given to fund a $5000 dollar scholarship, a $1000 dollar scholarship or any amount you choose.
       Donors will receive a thank you letter appropriate for IRS Charitable Giving.
       Our progress on scholarship awards will be continually updated on our website displaying the state and number of awards given to date.

States and Number of Scholarships Awarded
Scholarship Awards to Date:
Alabama       1       Kentucky                4           Texas                    7
Arkansas      2       Michigan                 1           Virginia               2
California    2      Montana                   2           Washington        1
Florida         2      North Carolina       1           West Virginia     1
Idaho            1      Oklahoma                2           Wisconsin           3
Illinois          1      Oregon                     1
Indiana        1       Pennsylvania          2
Total = 37
Your donation to help a motivated student will make a big difference for generations to come.  Let’s help motivated students choose a better future.
Please donate today by going to our website:
www.ccefscholarships.org             
Contact Information
Anthony Haynes, Executive Director
ahaynes@creativecorrectionseducationfoundation.org This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

John Gray, Program Administrator       
jgray@creativecorrectionseducationfoundation.org This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Headquarters: 6545 Calder Ave., Beaumont, TX 77706,
 
Telephone: 409/861-2536
FAX: 409/861-2549
____________________________________

 We have no affiliation with this organization - 
we just think its project is 
innovative and very cool! 
 
Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director
at Christ Church Greenwich

254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 06830
(o) +1203.769.1096
(m) +1203.339.5887
jgrant@pppx.org
jg3074@columbia.edu

prisonist.org


Lynn Springer, Advocate
lspringer@innocentspousechildrenproject.org
(m) +1203.536.5508

Affiliates:

First Baptist Church of Bridgeport

126 Washington Avenue, 1st Floor
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA 06604

Jesus Saves Ministries
784 Connecticut Avenue
Bridgeport. CT 06607


Cathedral of Praise C.O.G.I.C.
45 Gregory Street
Bridgeport, CT  06604





Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Karma and Soup du Jour, by Joseph Deltito, M. D. - Guest Blogger

Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut


Karma and Soup du Jour
By Joseph Deltito, M.D.- Guest Blogger 

Dr. Deltito is a psychiatrist and 
psychopharmacologist practicing in 
Greenwich, CT.  He can be reached at
deltito@aol.com. 



While recently eating in a Chinese restaurant I received my new most favorite saying in a fortune cookie. It said, “a new tie will always find the soup du jour.”

Previous to this my favorite fortune had been “Help! I am a prisoner in a Chinese bakery”. I would like to reflect on the former and most recent fortune. 


Life seems that way: we try to do our best and when enjoying some new fortune something undesired will often ruin everything. Some people would say “it’s just my Karma that makes things go wrong”. Karma may very well be a reasonable concept for explaining the workings of the world. But I believe it is mostly misused differently from its  accurate meaning in Buddhism.


I have a friend who has been studying to be a Buddhist monk. I asked him about Karma and he told me that Karma was simply”cause-and-effect”. The idea that in general if we do good things, good things will come to us and if we do bad things, bad things will come to us is not really Karma. Our Karma is what we create. 

There are things we can do to increase the probability that good things will happen to us. There are things we can do to decrease the probability that bad things will come to us. In the end we have no full and perfect control of our future.  A quote I quite like is “if you want to make God laugh tell Him* your future plans.” 

So many well-thought-out plans never materialize.  So many negative things can intervene; this does not mean that we have no control, only that we have partial control. As a psychiatrist I spend a lot of time helping people see how they can discover and exercise that partial control. Usually the things they need to do are not particularly secret nor sacred. The effects of their behaviors are often self-evident. 

Although, I believe that God “is not playing dice with the universe”, free will does exist. To a large extent we reap what we sow, notwithstanding that even while trying to do our best calamity may still triumph. This does not mean that we should not try to do our best, in fact it reinforces the idea that we should exert as much control over our lives as is possible. That is our Karma! 

People from different religious and humanitarian traditions may have particular “suggestions” for what might be helpful for the self and those around us. For me taking responsibility for the outcome of our decisions and behaviors can form the basis of any reasonable code by which we should live our lives. I also think we cannot go wrong with “treat your neighbor  as you would like to be treated yourself”or restated: 

we should all try to give everyone around us an even break.


In summary, although the new tie will find the soup and much will unfold beyond our control, there still remains much we can do to improve ourselves and our society. 

May your Karma take you to wherever your would like to be going.  Amen.


 *or Her
_____________________

Joseph Deltito MD is currently a full Clinical Professor at NY Medical College and a Senior Research Fellow at the Gianfranco Delisio Institute for Behavioral Research in Pisa, Italy. Dr Deltito is  a  member of the advisory board of the International Review of Bipolar Disorders.  He is the author of over 100 articles on the diagnoses and treatment of Psychiatric Illnesses.

 He received his Undergraduate and Medical Degrees from Brown University and completed his Psychiatric residency at Harvard Medical School (The Massachusetts General Hospital). He has served as a visiting Professor at the Christchurch School of Medicine (New Zealand) and the University of Pisa (Italy).His main areas of expertise include the treatment of Anxiety ( Panic Disorder, Obsessive -Compulsive Disorder, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Mood Disorders ( Bipolar and Unipolar), Borderline Personality Disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder in Adults. In additional Dr Deltito is an expert in the delivery of High Intensity Light Therapy, Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) and the rational use of Medical Hypnoses.

He is proud to have been awarded the Professor of the Year award at both Cornell Medical School and New York Medical College. He has received the William Gaston Award for Oratory and the Silver Hill Award for outstanding contributions for Mental Health Awareness  in the Media. He is highly recognizable throughout the country due to his greater than 300 appearances as a Psychiatric Expert on CNN, Headline News, MsNBC, Fox News and Court TV. He is very much in demand as a Forensic consultant in legal cases where Psychiatric issues are crucial to the case.

He  is currently associated with Contemporary Care in Greenwich where he provides Psychiatric evaluation and treatment with Psychopharmacology, TMS and other modalities. …Dr Deltito continues to be an outspoken and opinionated advocate for those suffering from Mental illnesses.
_____________________
 
Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project



Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Minister/Director
jgrant@prisonist.org
(o) 203-769-1096
(m) 203-339-5887


Lynn Springer, Founding Advocate, Innocent Spouse & Children Project
lspringer@prisonist.org

(203) 536-5508

George Bresnan, Advocate, Ex-Pats
gbresnan@prisonist.org
(203) 609-5088

Jim Gabal, Development
jgabal@prisonist.org
(203) 858-2865

Babz Rawls Ivy, Media Contact
mediababz@gmail.com
(203) 645-9278   

Donations
 
We are grateful for donations from individuals, religious groups, charities, foundations and the like. Donations can be made by credit card/PayPal or by sending your check payable to: “Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc.” P.O. Box 1232, Weston, Connecticut 06883. Progressive Prison Project/Innocent Spouse & Children Project are missions of Progressive Prison Ministries, Inc. We are a CT Religious Corp. with 501c3 status - all donations are tax deductible to the extent permitted by law. Thank you for your support and generosity.


If transformation and redemption matter to you, a friend or a family member with a white-collar or nonviolent incarceration issue, please contact us and we will promptly send you an information package by mail, email or via Dropbox. The darkest days of a person's life can be a time of renewal and hope.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Why Attend a DBSA Support Group? By John Tamerin, MD, Guest Blogger



Progressive Prison Project

Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Greenwich, Connecticut


Why Attend a DBSA Support Group?

By John S. Tamerin, M.D., Guest Blogger

John was in the audience when I was interviewed
at the Greenwich Leadership Forum and introduced
himself to me - we've since become fast friends and colleagues. We believe his work in bipolar and severe depression has great value to people suffering from incarceration issues. He hosts a DBSA Support Group in Greenwich that meets on Friday afternoons. - Jeff
_____________
 There are many reasons to attend a DBSA support group. Here are five that I believe are particularly important:

1. Safety and Connection.

As anyone who has ever experienced depression, loved someone with depression or treated someone with depression knows: when people are depressed they feel insecure, scared and highly vulnerable. When depressed people seek help, they need to feel safe (i.e. cared for, understood and protected from further harm). No one understands these issues as well as a person who has lived them. When one comes to a DBSA support group, one is suddenly in the presence of a group of people, all of whom have metaphorically lived in the same neighborhood. And there is a unique feeling of safety as one discovers that others in the room not only understand but truly “know” from personal experience all the streets, all the fears, all the dangerous places.

In addition, it is profoundly reassuring to discover that many in the room have found a "safe way" back home to happiness and well-being. The process of sharing all of these feelings, fears and experiences can and does produce enormous benefits for both parties – both the newcomer and the existing group members. The DBSA group enables people to come out of themselves and start to “feel alive” again through the process of connecting with others. These deep human connections are perhaps the most profound gift of DBSA group membership. In DBSA groups, people find a place where they can and do feel accepted and where they feel they “belong.” Perhaps a simple statement from a once highly skeptical group member says it all: “When I came here I discovered that people listened to me and I gradually began to feel accepted rather than unacceptable.”

2. Compassion and Empathy.

Compassion and empathy are routinely provided by people who have lived a similar and painful experience in ways that are deep and highly personal. DBSA group members have at one time or another personally felt despair, hopelessness, emptiness, the absence of energy or motivation and even the profound desire to end all of the pain and misery through suicide. They have felt the shame and fear of hiding these emotions and thoughts. The issues of shame and stigma are perhaps best dealt with in a DBSA group setting where everyone else in the group is facing or has faced the same concerns. In the DBSA group new members will discover that all of these issues and feelings will be responded to with profound compassion, empathy, understanding, insight and wisdom.

3. Not Burdening Others.

People in a DBSA support group can discuss their pain and suffering without feeling they are burdening friends and/or family. In addition to finding support and empathy, they need to be able to freely express “negative” emotions like anger, bitterness or resentment and still be listened to with tenderness and compassion and without judgment by others. People who have suffered severe depression may also need to discuss and explore lost dreams, lost spouses, lost jobs and even their “lost selves” as well as the despair and/or terror at perhaps never being able to again recapture what they have lost. Similarly, they need to learn how to listen with tenderness and compassion to others. People who are recovering from depression need to discover that they can help as well as receive help. Giving is an essential part of recovery and giving is at the core of a DBSA support group. Giving back also helps to alleviate both feelings of isolation and feelings of being a burden.

4. Honest Feedback.

In addition to receiving compassion and empathy, people recovering from depression need to become resilient and to be able to both learn and grow from the challenges which will inevitably continue. To do so, they must be prepared and willing to receive and accept nonjudgmental but honest feedback. Honest feedback is difficult to hear and often involves exploring and even confronting excuses and rationalizations with the awareness and even the insistence that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own recovery. This difficult and at times confrontational message is best received when it comes from others who have had to face and confront the same problems and issues themselves.

5. Regaining Hope and Faith.

Men and women facing the diagnosis, the reality and the consequences of living with bipolar disease and/or severe depression often feel overwhelmed. Many have experienced repeated episodes and feel they have little to look forward to other than continued illness. As a result, they may lose hope and faith in the future and in themselves. People need to regain hope, reaffirm their belief in themselves and gradually begin to laugh again. The DBSA support group is perhaps the best place to gradually regain all of these elements crucial to recovery, including the ability to laugh - even at oneself! This alchemy from despair to belief is accomplished again and again in DBSA support groups.

In the DBSA groups, people learn to communicate their feelings and fears at a deep and honest level. They also learn how to listen. They learn from the journey and discoveries of others and ultimately they bond and identify with other members of the group who have, through proper medical treatment and participation in the group, achieved new meaningful goals themselves.

Maybe the best reason to come to a DBSA group is as simple as one man’s statement:

“I look forward to coming to group. I feel much better when I am here. And I feel much better driving home.”

_______________

John S. Tamerin, M.D. is a member of the Board of Directors, DBSA National, and Medical Consultant to the Greenwich, Connecticut DBSA Chapter.

Dr. Tamerin, a psychiatrist with over 40 years of clinical experience, has served for many years as Clinical Associate Professor at Weill/Cornell School of Medicine teaching residents and medical students. He has consistently been voted one of the Top Doctors in America by Castle Connelly.

Dr. Tamerin has published extensively in the areas of mood disorders and the addictions. He has served on the GAP committee on Alcoholism and the Addictions, the Committee on Human Sexuality and most recently has joined the committee on Psychiatry and the Arts. His goal in this series of articles is to further integrate medicine with the Humanities and the Arts by presenting new and provocative perspectives of direct relevance to the treatment of people suffering with mood disorders.

Dr. Tamerin can be reached at (203) 661-8282; jtamerin@optonline.net.

*This paper was first published by Dr. Tamerin under the title, "The Clinical Value of DBSA Support Groups."
 

_____________________

Progressive Prison Project/
Innocent Spouse & Children Project

Rev. Jeff Grant, JD, M Div, Director
at Christ Church Greenwich

254 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, Connecticut, USA 06830
(o) +1203.769.1096
(m) +1203.339.5887
jgrant@pppx.org
jg3074@columbia.edu
prisonist.org

Lynn Springer, Advocate
lspringer@innocentspousechildrenproject.org
(m) +1203.536.5508


Affiliates:

First Baptist Church of Bridgeport

126 Washington Avenue, 1st Floor
Bridgeport, Connecticut, USA 06604

Jesus Saves Ministries
784 Connecticut Avenue
Bridgeport. CT 06607


Cathedral of Praise C.O.G.I.C.
45 Gregory Street
Bridgeport, CT  06604