In 1995, a nonprofit organization called the Lionheart Foundation published a book titled “Houses of Healing:A Prisoner’s Guide to Inner Power and Freedom.” The purpose of the book was to help incarcerated men and women a rehabilitative resource to help them end destructive lifelong patters if violence and addiction. Over 85,000 copies of this transformational powerhouse of a book are currently in circulation and are distributed freely to prison libraries and programs throughout the United States. Prison chaplains, educators, mental health counselors, administrators and prisoners themselves are applauding there positive impact that House of Healing have provided.
Additionally, a revised edition of Houses of Healing was written for at-youth-risk whose emotional, social and cognitive needs are different from incarcerated adults and as a consequence, House of Healing author, Robin Casarjian wrote, “Power Source:Taking Charge of Your Life.”
The mission statement of the Lionheart Foundation is: Bringing a powerful and effective emotional literacy curriculum to prisoners and youth at risk across the country. The Foundation strongly believes in the power to change and alter destructive habits that lead to incarceration, through emotional literacy, skill-building and self-awareness. The book, Houses of Healing, promotes this mission.
With the Lionheart’s prison program, prisoners take stock of their personal life experiences that have led them into criminal activity while addressing that they must be responsible for their criminal behavior. Then prisoner/students are given tools that will help them take charge of their lives and transform their lives – ultimately reducing recidivism rates.
In the words of one counselor, “there is no other program in which I have observed the profound changes that I have seen in this course.”
One of the keys to the Lionheart Foundations program is developing emotional literacy. Research has shown that emotional literacy is a key factor in predicting the success of human relationships – from work to family to self-esteem. Defined, emotional literacy is the ability to manage and express one’s emotions in a mature and conscientious manner. With this grasp of emotional literacy, comes growth, maturity and responsible behavior. And emotional literacy skills can be nurtured, learned and applied, culminating in awareness of societal skills and communication.
To quote the Lionheart Foundation: “The expanding prison population continues to grow as a major national crisis. Taking a proactive stance, Lionheart is committed to playing an integral part in redefining our nation’s prisons as places for healing and rehabilitation.”