The name of the program was changed by the administration from Inmates Embracing Better Choices to The Mentoring Project. The first class of what is now known as The Mentoring Project was held on 2/3/2012 at Northern State Prison in Newark, NJ. This concept is copyrighted.
Just as there are inmates here at Northern state Prison who on a daily basis assist the Education Department by sometimes volunteering or offering their time in an effort to help other inmates with G.E.D. prep, math, reading, and writing, there are also those of us who have a desire to help young inmates here deal with their past and plan for their future.
First and foremost we want to acknowledge that we realize that Social Services offers a variety of programs that seek to achieve the same goals. However, we believe that by working in tandem with Social Services, we can reach those who will see us as their peers rather than yet another authority figure who can not truly relate to them or their lifestyle.
MISSION: to offer choice and to deter the young men we talk to from repeating their mistakes of the past and from criminality within the confines of this facility and society as a whole.
We will at all times conduct ourselves appropriately.
We will share our experiences, while at the same time explaining that there were better choices available to us and that had we made better choices we would have better lives.
We will encourage these young men to educate themselves and to participate in the self-help programs available to them.
I.E.B.C. was designed as a six week program.
Opening remarks cover what the program offers and why inmates should commit.
6 topics are covered in 12 sessions; each topic is given to two groups, once in the morning and once in the afternoon, or twice per week.
Topic #1 – Peer Pressure- Make your own choices.
Topic #2- Self Analysis- What do you know about your self and who you are
Topic #3- Education- Being smart is O.K.! There is no weapon greater than the mind.
Topic #4- A.I.D.S. Prevention- What you need to know to be safe.
Topic #5- Parenting- Inside and out, not imposing the cycle of your past. Building a new and better relationship built on love, respect and responsibility.
Topic #6- Employment Skills- Ways of preparing and presenting yourself for work and work opportunities.
A classroom is set up in the style of a round table meeting, a circle of 18-20 chairs with 6 “old timers” acting as Group Facilitators with a Senior Correctional Officer present at all times. There is no more than 24 young inmates attending these classes; 12 to a class, 2 classes per week.
Age requirement defining young inmates is 18-30 years old.
We are interested in having guest speakers speak to the group on topics such as AIDS prevent, employment and re-entry.