Prison Reform Initiatives


Oakdale Choir

Benefits. Our primary focus is on looking for ways to prevent crime and incarceration. However, we recognize that those who end up in jails and prisons are at greater risk of recidivism because of the generally poor conditions that exist in many incarceration facilities. For this reason, part of our mission is to enhance the quality of facilities to improve the lives of those living in them and hopefully assist in changing lives for the better.

Ideas for Improving Facilities. The following are ideas that can help create a more positive environment for those in correctional facilities.

  • Alternatives to Violence. Offer Alternatives to Violence programs.
  • Community Interaction. Let local community residents live in the prison (for a fee) and volunteer to assist with the needs of the facility and inmates. Although possibly working full-time during the weekdays. Some interaction would be possible in the evenings and on weekends. This way non-prisoners can live with and influence those in prison.
  • Dance. Provide space for a dance group such as Dances of Universal Peace.
  • Faith. Provide religious services that meet a variety of religious and philosophical viewpoints. Offer alternatives for non-religious people who may want inspiration from non-religious sources.
  • Gardening. Let inmates maintain a garden that produces flowers and fresh food for their use.
  • Groups. Establish groups such as a job club, incarcerated vets, AA, etc.
  • Music. Allow people in the community to donate musical instruments that inmates will have access to. Allow volunteers to teach music. Have a choral group. Allow musicians from the community to come in and perform.
  • Nature. Provide a ‘yard’ for walks that is modified to be more like a park or garden.
  • Sports. Provide equipment for sports teams such as baseball, basketball, football, etc.
  • Writing. Offer writing groups.

Local Initiatives. Many of the programs listed above are provided at the Iowa Medical & Classification Center (IMCC) north of Coralville, Iowa. Two programs in particular that are offering hope and change include the Alternatives to Violence program and a choir.

National Resources. Below are links to prison reform resources as well as some organizations working to reform prison systems.

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