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How to Start A Class in a Prison, Jail, etc...

Posted on July 17, 2016 at 8:00 PM

How to Start a T’ai Chi Chih Class at a Correctional Facility


First, make an appointment with the person in charge of Programs, usually called the Programs Officer or Resource Director.


Bring with you:


1. A “Statement of Purpose,” simply stating why you want to bring T’ai Chi Chih into this facility, how it will benefit the inmates and the institution, and how the class will be run (a sample is attached). You will attach to that statement, a brochure and/or handout describing T'ai Chi Chih in detail, including a link to the website, and reference to it being part of an international community. (A sample brochure and flyer are also attached).


2. A copy of the textbook and sample handouts you might use.


3. A sample of the music you would use. It's preferable that it be a manufactured copy, rather than something you've compiled on your own.


4. A copy of your T'ai Chi Chih Teacher Accreditation Certificate, and if you have it, a resume showing how long you've been teaching and where, including references and/or letters of recommendation, or testimonials from previous students.


6. Copies of research, articles and testimonials, demonstrating the benefits of teaching meditation in prisons and jails. (See list of resources).


5. A copy of your insurance certificate (they probably won’t need it, but it demonstrates professionalism).


Here is a list of possible questions to ask:


1. Would the prison be open to the idea of my teaching T'ai Chi Chih inside of their facility?


2. If they don’t have space, ask whether they can put you in touch with some existing programs, so that you might attach yourself to them and bring your class in that way.


Refer to your flyer, and emphasize that:


- It is completely non-violent in nature.

- It decreases feelings of depression, anger and aggression.

- It is accessible to inmates with mobility challenges.

- There is a textbook to support study of the practice.


(If they sound open to the idea, you could proceed with more questions)


2. What kind of space would be available? (Requires at least an arm's length of space between students.)




3. Is there an application I need to fill out? Screenings? Will I receive a visitor’s pass or other kind of pass?




4. What kind of training would I need to have? When and how soon would I receive it? (They will likely hold Orientations every few months).



5. Do I need to have a sponsor/supervisor in the prison? Will I need an escort into and out of the facility? (In jails and small prisons, probably not on either account, in a large prison, most likely yes on both accounts).



6. Will I have any supervision in the classroom? (I don’t have any at Folsom)



7. Will I wear an alarm of any kind? (I do at Folsom)



8. What is the dress code? What colors are forbidden?



9. What days/times are available? When can I begin? (Will depend on next training)



10. Am I allowed to bring in educational materials, like books, handouts and folders to keep their handouts in? Do I need for them to be cleared prior to my bringing them in?



11. Is there something I can play meditative music on during class?




Categories: Materials to support teaching in a correctional facility

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