Correctional Facility Workshops
Since this program began in 1974, in a New York State prison, at Greenhaven, AVP has spread faster by word-of-mouth from Warden to Warden than any other way. This is understandable when you realize how effectively these workshops change lives. From the start, wardens have noted changes of attitude, deportment, and character in the men and women inmates who have taken several levels of AVP workshops.
This is how it’s done: community volunteers, who have become certified AVP facilitators, work together to develop a program that can work within the strictures of the State Department of Corrections. This is usually designed for a specific facility, a local prison or where there is a recognized need. Discussions are opened with the authorities of the Judicial District or directly with a warden. Requirements for the program, clearance for the community volunteers, lists of workshop materials, and a proposed schedule are worked out.
AVP/USA is a recognized organization within most DOC levels of authority. This is an honored program presenting a non-religious, non-denominational matter that is culturally sensitive and based on sound psychological principles and practice. AVP/Iowa is organized under that national umbrella. From the table of facilities listed above, you can see that we have just begun to carry this program into the Iowa prisons.
Statistically, we know that approximately 90% of all inmates currently incarcerated in Iowa’s prisons will be out, having completed their sentence, or on parole within six years. That’s the rotation. Also, by numbers, we know that statistically 70% of those will be back in prison within three years, a large percentage for parole violation or other infraction involving an act of violence. There are many kinds of violence.
Studies have shown that inmates who have completed a Basic and at least one Advanced Workshop will have a recidivism rate of approximately 30% over the same three-year. That’s a big difference. There are over 8,300 inmates in Iowa’s prisons. We are currently reaching about 500 per year. (2005, The Alternatives to Violence Project in Delaware: A Three-Year Cumulative Recidivism Study; Marsha L. Miller, Ph.D. and John A Shuford, M.B.A., Ed.S, FACHCA)