Title

From Prison to Community: A Transitional Program

Presenter Information

Barbara Hooper

Start Time

7-10-2006 10:15 AM

End Time

7-10-2006 12:00 PM

Abstract

This paper describes the process of applying knowledge of lifestyle redesign (e.g. Jackson J, Carlson M, Mandel D, Zemke R, Clark F, 1998) and transformative learning (e.g. Mezirow, 2000) to developing life skills program in a transitional living program for former prisoners. Lifestyle redesign is a therapeutic process “enabling the participants to actively and strategically select an individualized pattern or personally satisfying and health-promoting occupations” (Jackson, et al, 1998, p. 326). Redesigning one’s life through more self-selected and satisfying occupations can entail significant transformations; therefore, combining knowledge of transformative learning processes with knowledge of lifestyle redesign could be profitable pairing. Transformative learning is an educational process of overcoming the limitations of previous learning, habitual ways of thinking, and ingrained ways of seeing and acting in the world (Cranton, 1994), Occupational science and transformative learning form the conceptual foundation for a 3-month program for ex-convicts including educational modules such as “Designing your Next Job” or “Designing Healthy Leisure and Recreation.” Ending a prison term can be what Mezlrow (1991) called “a disorienting dilemma,” or what Brookfield (1987) called a “trigger event,” or what Taylor (1987) called a “disconfirmation”-occurrences in which one’s expectations and experiences are in conflict, causing feelings of disorientation or uneasiness, and thereby potentially creating an opening for self-examination. Disorienting conflicts for former prisoners may include transitioning from institution-authored time use to self-authored time use, from institution-authored habits to non-destructive self-authored habits, or from a present-moment worldview to a worldview that includes future possibilities. Critical self-reflection and a sound self-concept are considered indispensable for transformative learning. In helping design a program to support prisoners’ transition to the community, I have been challenged by a number of questions, including” How does transformation occur with a diminished self-concept and little experience with reflection? What transformations are needed to select health-enhancing occupations over self-defeating occupations? In addition to describing the conceptual model that integrates occupational science with transformative learning and presenting the subsequent “life by design” program, this paper will offer opportunity for discussing these issues and exploring together the research questions and methods appropriate to this population.

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Oct 7th, 10:15 AM Oct 7th, 12:00 PM

From Prison to Community: A Transitional Program

This paper describes the process of applying knowledge of lifestyle redesign (e.g. Jackson J, Carlson M, Mandel D, Zemke R, Clark F, 1998) and transformative learning (e.g. Mezirow, 2000) to developing life skills program in a transitional living program for former prisoners. Lifestyle redesign is a therapeutic process “enabling the participants to actively and strategically select an individualized pattern or personally satisfying and health-promoting occupations” (Jackson, et al, 1998, p. 326). Redesigning one’s life through more self-selected and satisfying occupations can entail significant transformations; therefore, combining knowledge of transformative learning processes with knowledge of lifestyle redesign could be profitable pairing. Transformative learning is an educational process of overcoming the limitations of previous learning, habitual ways of thinking, and ingrained ways of seeing and acting in the world (Cranton, 1994), Occupational science and transformative learning form the conceptual foundation for a 3-month program for ex-convicts including educational modules such as “Designing your Next Job” or “Designing Healthy Leisure and Recreation.” Ending a prison term can be what Mezlrow (1991) called “a disorienting dilemma,” or what Brookfield (1987) called a “trigger event,” or what Taylor (1987) called a “disconfirmation”-occurrences in which one’s expectations and experiences are in conflict, causing feelings of disorientation or uneasiness, and thereby potentially creating an opening for self-examination. Disorienting conflicts for former prisoners may include transitioning from institution-authored time use to self-authored time use, from institution-authored habits to non-destructive self-authored habits, or from a present-moment worldview to a worldview that includes future possibilities. Critical self-reflection and a sound self-concept are considered indispensable for transformative learning. In helping design a program to support prisoners’ transition to the community, I have been challenged by a number of questions, including” How does transformation occur with a diminished self-concept and little experience with reflection? What transformations are needed to select health-enhancing occupations over self-defeating occupations? In addition to describing the conceptual model that integrates occupational science with transformative learning and presenting the subsequent “life by design” program, this paper will offer opportunity for discussing these issues and exploring together the research questions and methods appropriate to this population.