LA Times News Break: “CONVERTING INMATES INTO CITIZENS”
CONVERTING INMATES INTO CITIZENS
The October 19 issue of the LA Times ran a front-page feature about L.A. County Superior Court Judge Michael Tynan, “the 73-year-old Army veteran with a gruff, no-nonsense voice (who) has taken on populations that others have given up on — the county’s drug addicts, homeless, mentally ill and, in recent years, women parolees. The Los Angeles County Superior Court judge oversees a number of programs known as collaborative or problem-solving courts, designed to address the underlying issues — addictions, mental health, poverty — that lead to repeated arrests and prison terms.”
The story documents the successes, and occasional failures, of a visionary program to rehabilitate the tough cases. As the interim Vice President at PROTOTYPES, I was responsible for providing oversight to this program. The behind-the-scenes management story is almost as dramatic as the clinical cases cited by the Times.
Our treatment plans had to be coordinated with public defenders, the parole and probation authorities and the Los Angeles County social services administrators. Each brought a point of view and a set of reporting requirements. At the end of the day, our social workers, who were providing the treatment, had to set the clinical standards. Reconciling all this took a lot of patient negotiation as we searched to reconcile our differing perspectives and establish a way to work together effectively as a team. Like most efforts that are worth doing, it was hard work and there were some tense moments.
In the rare instance that you see a social work success reported in major media — on page one above the fold, no less — you should applaud journalistic initiative. But, of course, don’t expect to see the full story.
p.s. I always am interested in what you think about these discussions. Please post your thoughts…your constructive criticism and support is appreciated! Sign up for my newsletter here.
Dr. Lynn K. Jones, Certified Personal and Executive Coach
Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Certified Personal and Executive Coach. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values.
Hi Lynn. This is a great article about social work issues. Thanks for posting it!
Wow! What great news! Converting inmates into citizens is tough work, and so many people fall through the cracks of our system. It’s great to hear that this has had success. Keep up the good work!
Calla, Thanks for your enthusiasm! PROTOTYPES does fabulous work–I have had the honor of witnessing first-hand the successes that they have. Lynn
Thanks for bringing attention to this important article and the great work that Prototypes does!! I am proud to be part of this work and enjoyed working with you. 🙂
Laurie, you do a fabulous job with our women–it is people like you that make the difference for them. Thanks for all you do! Appreciatively, Lynn
I have seen some amazing transformations with woman at Prototypes. Some days are not easy, but they are so worth it. Thank you Lynn for bringing awareness to this issue. Also, to show that there can be success!
Lisa, There are so many successes! And because success builds exponentially through families and our communities there are more successes than we ever even know about. I hope our legislators notice and support more reentry programs for women!
this is good insight, i do hope and pray that it all works out. i know because i was able to go through prototypes it gave me the tools to get through my day to day life and learning how to live sober. i know God will see it through because that where women find them selves and they find God. no program is easy its not suppose to be but it is so worth it when u have all your children back and when you have peace of mind….we need more center for women. God will make a way.=)
Eva, You are such a great example of the kind of success that is possible! A great mom, who is working and giving back to the community. Thanks for sharing! Big hugs, Lynn
I am delighted to see this important community work on the front page of the LA Times. The Prototypes program is amazing and worthy of all the support we can garner.
I know, Winifred. It is so exciting, and so rare!, for a nonprofit to be featured on the front page of major paper like the LA Times!! It is a important comment on the PROTOTYPES success.