“The reformation or reclamation of the criminal does not depend upon punishment … but upon the reestablishment of the criminal’s self-respect.” - L. Ron Hubbard.
Nearly two-thirds of the 600,000 plus prisoners in the United States who are released each year are expected to be rearrested for a felony or misdemeanor within three years of release. Most will commit a new crime within the first six months after release. According to the US Bureau of Justice Statistics, expenditures on corrections alone increased from $9 billion in 1982 to $44 billion in 1997, a five times increase in a quarter of a century.
The successful reintegration of former prisoners into society is a challenging task. An ex-offender attempting to transition from prison life to living in his community – especially after serving a lengthy sentence – comes up against multiple barriers. He often has received little or no preparation for life outside the prison walls. Finding employment, housing, basic health care or public assistance can become overwhelming tasks. He may lack interpersonal skills necessary to succeed in society.
Unless these barriers and problems can be effectively addressed, recidivism will continue to plague us and the costs of the cycle of incarceration and reentry will continue to be a huge burden for the taxpayer and continue to produce negative social consequences.
Research and experience has shown us that all criminality begins first with the loss of self-respect and personal integrity. All other observable problems, such as drug abuse and immorality, are simply symptoms that manifest themselves after the individual has lost his self-respect and personal integrity.
Criminon has seen that, once self-respect is gone, a sense of hopelessness sets in, and an individual adopts a mind set that he has no future and no way out. This warped reality causes him to choose a path of immorality, and he often resorts to crime to survive. He is completely unaware that no individual can survive without living a life based on common sense values and ethical principles.
So the first and most vital reform action must be the restoration of self-respect and personal integrity. Each individual can be brought to realize that he is basically a good person, and that there is hope for the future. Unless this occurs, support services that include housing and jobs are not enough to break the cycle of recidivism.
It is the individual himself who must take responsibility for his actions and it is our view that a criminal’s reformation is dependent upon his willingness to effect a change in his life. These things are accomplished through the Criminon program. The end result is a person who is empowered to produce, to be effective and to contribute to society instead of being a drain on it.
Criminon addresses the “revolving door” of recidivism—a revolving door through which offenders are released from prison increasingly committed to a life of crime and through which they rapidly return to confinement with new offenses on their record. The Criminon program directly addresses this area by effectively restoring self-respect and life skills to offenders and returning them to society as positive and contributive members.
With 60-80% reduction in recidivism rates common among program graduates, Criminon is creating safer communities. It accomplishes this by ensuring that those released from prison are not hardened offenders ready to commit new offenses but rather self-respecting and responsible men and women.
Criminon helps inmates, ex-offenders and at-risk individuals in a variety of settings, ranging from on-site programs delivered by in juvenile halls to correspondence courses which reach even into the new super-maximum security prisons to workshops delivered on the ground to at risk youth and to gang interventionists. In all, approximately 8,400 offenders take Criminon courses each week.
Through these courses and on-site programs that teach basic life skills, Criminon helps offenders regain their self-respect and personal integrity, enabling them to return to society as contributing, productive citizens. Offenders gain a practical understanding of right and wrong and the satisfaction of ethical and social conduct — sometimes for the first time in their lives.
The Criminon program offers preventatiive programs, ex-offender reentry and mentoring programs as well as in-prison transitional programs geared towards life skills and job readiness.
The time tested curriculum of the Criminon courses empower the individual to regain his self-respect and his willingness to trust himself.
The curriculum of the Criminon program is composed of courses broken down into several distinct modules.
The Literacy and Learning Module:
- Phonics programs as needed.
- Reading and grammar
- Learning how to learn
Self- Respect Module:
- The Way to Happiness Course
- Personal Values and Integrity Course
- Improving Conditions in Life Course
Drug Rehabilitation Module:
- Withdrawal from drugs
- Drug detoxification
- Drug education
Life Skills Module:
- Interpersonal Skills Course
- Handling negative influences in life
- Successful Parenting Skills Course
- Financial success (under development)
- How to be a productive citizen (under development)
Vocational Education Module:
- Communication Skills Course
- Interview process skills
- Computer education
- How to keep your job
- Job Skills training (in coordination with the Home Builders Institute)
The Criminon program accomplishes its goals through carefully worked out courses and services. These courses give an offender training and skills to handle his or her life in positive ways. The Criminon materials, including the common sense guide to better living, The Way to Happiness, help an offender develop a new set of guidelines, which lead away from criminality and toward a social life, in harmony with one's fellows.
The criminal is able to replace his criminal code with a code based on common-sense.
Life skills are a key element of this approach. We must provide the tools, training and skills whereby a criminally inclined individual can live his or her life in a positive manner. The ultimate goal of such an approach is the restoration of the offender to society as a self-respecting, productive citizen.