What We Do
Preparing inmates for re-entry should begin the moment they first enter the prison system. Horizon Communities in Prison not only believes this, but have been acting on this principle since 1999 when the first residential program was created. To prepare any person to live responsibly in society, a model should be created as an example. For those that have broken the laws of our society, they have been removed and ostracized into a prison in the hopes that they will be better prepared to be constructive members of the community after serving their debt to society.
This is not the case according to the National Institute of Justice reports showing that 56.7% are rearrested within 12 months of release. This high recidivism rate has led to many states observing their processes and reconsidering what works, and what does not work. Many programs and administrations have come and gone over the last 18 years in order to try and repair a broken system. In the midst of these many changes, Horizon Communities in Prison has remained with a low recidivism rate ranging from 11-17% depending upon the state they are in.
Each state has implemented different programs, as well as having administration changes such as moving wardens in and out of the prison where Horizon exists. Some of these administrations are for our programs, and others are defiantly against the model we utilize. Regardless of these elements our organization has remained strong and self sustaining, producing fewer disciplinary actions among our students and lowering the recidivism rate of our graduates that are released.
We do this by addressing what Northwest School defines as the 5 areas of a society:
As well as addressing Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:
In our residential programs inmates find a community that allows them to live in an atmosphere that is more focused on education and living a better lifestyle, so that the participants can work on their individual needs instead of worrying about their concern for safety and survival. A mock society is created inside of the prison to help rehabilitate those in the program to see how their participation within the society is relative to the bettering of the community at large. Families are established with leaders assigned to each family, and concerns are handled by the families themselves. For those concerns that cannot be handled within the family itself, the community leaders are called upon to help assist in a resolution.
The governmental area of society is established and the inmates are those that have volunteered to enter the community. This establishes the political area of the society and feeds into the social area as well. Because of the volunteer status of each participant, and the community enforcing the rules, a sense of safety is provided within the prison that normally would not be established. A sense of belonging occurs and allows the participant to move closer to self actualization.
Computers are installed in the day rooms and those that do not have G.E.D.’s or equivalence are required to pursue this direction in education. College courses and computer literacy programs are offered to allow participants the ability to stay current with some of the technology and programs that allow relevance upon re-entry. Also classes that promote reading, writing, and art work unleashes the brilliance that exists inside of the minds of those that have used their minds for harm rather than good.
The program has used Biblical and moral examples to set up the statutes that help maintain order within the program. However, this is a multi-faith community. All faiths are welcome to participate, and the community is built around understanding each others differences, that leads to a better understanding of each others behaviors and beliefs. This prepares our participants for the reality of the vast differences in belief structures that they will encounter both inside and outside of the prison gates, meeting the needs of the religious area of a society.
The economic area of a society is harder to develop. Inmates are discouraged from sharing or bartering, which is a factor highly encouraged everywhere else in society, even to children at the earliest stages of life. In a Horizon residence, the participants are encouraged to care for one another. The community is stronger when everyone is caring for each other. Closets have been set up to help care for the basic necessities of those that do not receive help from outside family or friends. This establishes trust and understanding as many inside this community begin to reveal segments of their lives that are in need of repair.
Re-entry begins the moment an inmate enters the Horizon program, and it is in this program that they find Maslow’s needs and Northwest’s society functional and sound. The only thing needed to open a Horizon Community is the proper funding and the permission of the Warden and administration. Placing a Horizon dorm into a prison begins the process of enhancing any program already existing at that prison. Proper placement of graduates spreads an atmosphere of safety, education and rehabilitation throughout the entire prison.
- Active in Prisons for over Seventeen Years
- Developing Institutional and Residential Programs
- Bringing Self-Actualization and Life Skills Training to Inmates
- Creating Communities with Discipline, Integrity, Morality, and Etiquette
- Providing Computer Lab and Classroom Style Programs
- Expansion of Programs into Five Florida Prisons, as well as Texas, Oklahoma, and Ohio
- Program Graduates show a recidivism rate ranging from 11-17%
- Good Stewardship that helps at least 140 inmates per program, for $1.21 per day.
Life Skills Training
- Personal Financial Management
- Credit and Debt Management
- Small Business Concepts
- Life Mapping
- Anger Management
- Conflict Resolution
- Basic Keyboarding
- Computer Literacy
- G.E.D. Preparation
horizon communities in prison
1700 N. Monroe St.
Tallahassee, FL. 32303
- Safe Environment
- Community Atmosphere
- Focus on Education
- Better Lifestyle Choices
- Opportunity to Focus on Individual Needs
- Societal Simulations for Proper Re-entry