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Group and Individual Growth

Through the Out-o'-Doors


Page 8

Procedures 'or Protecting,


Preserving and Gathering Evidence
Page 13

Inmates Volunteer to Assist


Johnstown Flood Victims
Page 26
est in Prison - General Overview

by Earl Babbie, Ph.D.

Editor's Note: This article presents an initial examination of the use of the Erhard getting a little different feedback, a
Seminars Training (est) in the prison system. The research for this article involved little higher caliber, and a more in-
interviews with inmates and staff at lompoc Federal Penitentiary and San Quentin, tense commentary about the effect it
plus participation in the first day of the est Standard Training at leavenworth. was having.
The report should be seen as exploratory, providing a general overView on the in- "After they completed their
troduction of est training in prisons, and as a first stage in the design and execution second weekend," Keohane con-
of more rigorous evaluations. tinued, "the staff that took it started
talking about it. And they were talk-
ing very favorably about it."
The Erhard Seminars Training was perienced during the training or any Prison staff began noticing that
created by Werner Erhard in 1971. realizations they have had about even the more radical inmates who
Erhard states the purpose of the themselves. took the training spoke highly of it.
training as follows: "to transform Currently costing three hundred More importantly, perhaps, inmates
your ability to experience living so dollars, the training has been un- who had records of problems in
that the situations you have been try- questionably popular. Since 32 peo- prison began "getting along."
ing to change, or have been putting ple participated in the first training in As a result, Lompoc officials
up with, clear up just in the process October, 1971, another 100,000 have scheduled another training-
of life itself." taken it during the program's first conducted during February, 1975,
The training is usually conducted five years-despite the fact that est from which a total of 60 inmates and
during two consecutive weekends, has never engaged in advertising. staff members graduated. The results
taking approximately 60 hours Virtually all of the participants de- of the second training were substan-
altogether. About 250 trainees cide to enroll through word-of- tially the same as the first.
participate in each training, led by mouth referrals. Research on Keohane himself then took the
one of the nine est trainers. graduates, moreover, suggests that training in San Francisco. Interviewed
There are three key elements in the great majority feel they have a year later, he summed up his view
the training. First, for a part of the benefitted from it. (Babbie and of the training this way: "It really
time, the trainer presents data, ideas, Stone, 1976) handles self-contentment, I think,
and points of view for the trainees to History of the Prison Trainings and satisfaction and self-fulfillment.
look at. It makes you a more effective
Thomas Keohane, Jr., currently the
Second, in a series of "processes," person."
associate warden (programs) at
trainees sit with their eyes closed Directs Programs at leavenworth
while the trainer asks questions or Leavenworth, is probably the one
person most responsible for the in- Keohane has subsequently
gives instructions: e.g., "Recall a time
troduction of est into the prison become the associate warden for
you were happy." "Locate a point in
your left knee and notice what system. programs at Leavenworth and in Oc-
sensations you are experiencing Keohane recalls that when he was tober, 1976, an est training was con-
there." associate warden at Lompoc Federal ducted for inmates and staff there. A
The third element-called "shar- Correctional Institution, Gene dozen staff members and 140 in-
ing"-is an opportunity (not re- Stevens, mayor of Lompoc, took the mates began the training on October
quired) for trainees to share with the est training and recommended that 13th, with a total of 121 staff and in-
group any of the things they have ex- the prison staff look into it. "At that mates graduating on October 21st.
time," Keohane recalls, 'We had a lot George Jackson, Ch ief Deputy
of everything. We had 16 self- Director of the Department of Cor-
improvement groups. The institution rections, State of California, met
About the Author: Earl Babbie, Ph.D., was very active in a variety of pro- Werner Erhard and discussed est.
received his A . B. from Harvard grams." Keohane and then Warden That initial meeting eventually led to
where he graduated cum laude. He Frank Kenton decided to explore the a training at San Quentin on June
earned his M.A. and Ph .D. at the possibility of adding est to the list. 8-9, 15-16, from which 59 staff mem-
University of California, Berkeley. The first est training in prison was bers and inmates graduated.
Several of his books, articles and conducted at Lompoc in July, 1974, In preparation for this report, I in-
papers have been published. His with 54 inmates and four staff mem- terviewed nine inmates who had
most recent book is entitled "Society bers graduating. Keohane indicated taken the training at either Lompoc
By Agreement. " Dr. Babbie is a pro- that he had been accustomed to get- or San Quentin, eight staff members
fessor in the Department of ting good feedback from the various who had taken the training, and a
Sociology, University of Hawaii. He programs offered to inmates, but number of inmates and staff who
also serves as president of Babbie En- between the two weekends of the had not.
terprises, Inc. est training "this one seemed to be The nine inmate-graduates varied
22 NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1977 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CORRECTION
from being quietly enthusiastic to
being ecstatic about the value they Winter Meeting
had gotten from the est training. The
most common result they reported
Set for Phoenix
involved a simple joy with living. A successful ACA Congress will
They said they were more en- depend upon the success of the
thusiastic about life, more open in Winter Board meeting. Im-
their relationships with others, and portance of the three-day plan-
more self-confident. The non- ning session is magnified because
graduates I interviewed said essen- it encompasses committee and af-
tially the same thing about those in- filiated organization meetings.
mates they knew who had taken the Scheduled for February 15-17, at
the Ramada Inn East, Phoenix,
training.
Many of the inmates spoke in Ariz., it will set the stage for the
dramatic terms about their ex- 108th Congress at Portland, Ore.
perience of the final night of the Reservations can be made by con-
training. "That last day, something tacting the ACA office.
snapped within me. It was like a big est In Prison (from page 23)
cloud or something that's been come to the penitentiary, I come for
weighing me down-it just lifted." something different, but you set
Another said "That last night when I yourself up."
got it .. . I never felt physically, While each of the inmate-
spiritually, or mentally that way graduat~s interviewed felt personally
before." responsible for being in prison, none
In part, their enthusiasm with liv- seemed to express guilt, shame, or
ing represented a higher self-esteem. remorse. Rather, they seemed to
Many spoke of coming to accept have made a matter-of-fact discovery
themselves as human beings for the about the way things are. Each had
first time. "done something you get put in
A prisoner who stencils and sells prison for."
San Quentin T-shirts spoke of chang- The realization that they were
ing his attitude about his work: "I responsible for putting themselves in
didn't give any sense of value to my prison was frequently" accompanied
work. I didn't think my work was in the interviews by comments about
worth anything. That's nonsense. I "acce pting" the fact of being in
do damn good work, and I know it's prison. "It makes it easier to accept
good work. I'm going to charge for it, being here. Because you are here.
and I'm not going to bicker about the And the est training .. . allows you
price." to accept what is.
Several inmates spoke of the effect "One of the things that causes a
that understanding and accepting lot of the troubles in prison and
themselves had on their relations
causes people to get into prison in
with others. One inmate, serving a the first place is because they haven't
sentence of life without possibility of accepted what it is.
parole, summed up the matter, say- "Some people don't do this. They
ing "Once you understand yourself say, 'I'm not the kind of person who
and like yourself and learn to love belongs in here. I'm just not that
yourself, then you've got room for person.' They go through their whole
everybody else." time saying, 'I'm not that person.'
In large part, the inmate-graduates' Now if somebody comes along and
comments dealt with their views of treats them like they are an inmate,
prison and their feelings about being they get uptight because they don't
in prison themselves. feel like they are an inmate, and they
Responsibility for Being in Prison have troubles."
Many of those I interviewed Asked if that meant he no longer
stressed their realization, during the desired to get out, the inmate was
training, that they had been quick to correct that impression.
personally responsible for putting "Oh no! Oh no! Never happen! It
themselves in prison. This replaced means that you stop feeling bad
their earlier views that someone else about being in here, and you ac-
had been responsible or that they complish what you want to ac-
had been the innocent victims of complish while you're in here. In
circumstances. This realization was other words, your mind and feelings
not reported with regret or remorse aren't tied up in 'Gee it's terrible to
but more as a simple discovery of be in this place: "
the way things were. Most of the inmate-graduates in-
One inmate who had been in and terviewed echoed this view. One
out of prisons several times reported said "I love San Quentin. I don't hate
changing his view of why he was in San Quentin, because I love myself.
prison. "I ain't got no kicks coming. I I'm happy right here. I'm not plan-
was a chump before. Every time I ning on staying here, but I'm happy
(Continued on page 36) while I'm here."

NOVEMBER-DECEMBER 1977 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CORRECTION


est in Prison - General Overview
by Earl Babbie, Ph.D. Second of Two Parts
Editor's Note: This article presents an initial examination of the use of the Erhard
Seminars Training (est) in the prison system. The research for this article involved
interviews with inmates and staff at Lompoc Federal Penitentiary and San Quentin,
plus participation in the first day of the est Standard Training at Leavenworth. graduates I interviewed assumed that
The report should be seen as exploratory, providing a general overview on the in- est would require continuing ongo-
troduction of est training in prisons, and as a first stage in the design and execution ing training to reinforce its effect -
of more rigorous evaluations. like some of the self-help programs
impact of taking the training on they were familiar with. The inmate
Relationships in Prison and staff graduates tended to dis-
other things they were doing while
Most of the inmates interviewed in prison. Many spoke of participat- agree, however. As Keohane
reported changes in their rela- ing in educational programs; others described it: "lI's not rea lIy a pro-
tionships with others. Some spoke of were involved in community pro- gram. This is an experience that only
getting along better with fellow in- grams - working with juveniles, for takes place on a couple of
mates - reporting more open and example. weekends, and you don't need to
honest interactions with fewer con- One inmate summed up his view keep going back."
flicts. by saying "A person should have Future of est in Prisons
One inmate spoke of walking some religion, they should have The four est trainings conducted
around, or away from, confronta- some education, and they should so far in prisons have been donated
tions. Some spoke of having very dif- have some est." by est without charge. In addition to
ferent relationships with prison of- Ted long, the est trainer who has deferring the normal tuition rev-
ficials. Several said they now re- conducted most of the prison train- enues, the organization has provided
garded the corrections officers and ings, agreed that est should not be the costs of supplies, salaries, and
other staff as merely being people seen as a substitute for other pro- travel.
with a job to do. grams. Don Cox, the president of est, in-
One described an unsuccessful at- "Those other programs can be dicated that while est may continue
tempt to establish a new educational valuable. Where the est experience to donate some prison trainings, it is
program at lompoc. He felt that comes in is in terms of putting them not in a positiol) to do so on an un-
prior to the training he would have in a context that reveals how valu- limited basis. In addition to the
retreated into animosity toward the able they can be," he emphasized. prison trainings, est has donated
officials; now he is looking at new "The training deals with the con- ' trainings to disadvantaged com-
ways of proposing the program, text in which people hold and look munities and groups, to school
answering the previous objections . at and interact with the things classes, and others .
Several of the staff members I in- around them in a way that produces Within the three prisons, there
terviewed confirmed the general im- actual value, not apparent value or was a consensus among those in-
provement in social relationships conceptual value. terviewed - graduates and non-
among the est graduates. Many gave "The est context reveals the value graduates alike - in favor of more
specific examples of inmates who of other programs so it's not a ques- trainings.
had been in constant conflict with tion of est versus those things. It's a Among the prison staff members,
other inmates and with staff prior to question of us pointing out to peo- there was a special concern that
the training and who subsequently ple that those programs can be more future trainings be accompanied by
had totally changed. than a way of manipulating the rigorous evaluation research efforts.
Keohane summed it up by saying system . The training enables a The psychologists and psychiatrists
"II just seems fewer of them get in interviewed felt this was essential,
person to get into a program - to
trouble after they've gone through get whatever value he can out of that and they are unwilling to pass final
the training, even if they've been program, not try to trick it or out- judgment on the effectiveness of the
troublesome since the time they got smart it." est training until they can observe
here. They become more responsi- long saw the immediate impact of the inmate-graduates over a longer
ble." period of time.
the training in terms of institutional
In nearly all of the interviews, the life, giving inmates a context within Asked if they would support a con-
inmates mentioned the desire to which to hold their experience of tinuation of trainings in the interim,
share the experience of the training prison . In the long run, he felt the they all said they would. A careful
with others. The married inmates
training would provide ex-convicts evaluation of a lompoc training is in
wanted their wives to take the train- with a context within which to hold process.
ing. One had written to est, request- the experience of life on the street. The inmates were more un-
ing a scholarship for his wife. Another way in which the est train- qualified in their support for future
Another was making arrangements ing differs from other prison pro- trainings. Some had personally writ-
for his ex-wife to take the training. grams is its one-time nature. The ten to est requesting more trainings,
Most mentioned the desire to have "context" Long described is created as well as graduate seminar pro-
friends - both those in prison and as a lasting quality of one's ex- grams.
those on the street - take the train- perience in the basic two-weekend II is clear from this exploratory
ing. training. While est offers graduate study that est has a great deal to of-
est as a Context seminars for those who want to fer the prison system. The extent of
Interestingly, everyone interviewed participate in them, the 60 hour that contribution and how that con-
saw the est training as a supplement training is regarded as complete in tribution can best be made available
to other prison programs rather than itself. on a wider scale awaits further re-
as a substitute. Most described the Interestingly, many of the non- search and study. •

JANUARY-FEBRUARY 1978 AMERICAN JOURNAL OF CORRECTION 25

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