Why Run a Prison
The United States has a large percentage of its population in prison. The prisons today
“2004” do not heal as well as they could. Thirty percent of the standard prison
population is labeled as severely mentally ill and I want to help them. I would estimate
that Fifty percent are troubled and that leaves Twenty percent who were just greedy,
stupid or lazy. Those last delusions are common illnesses in prison but compounded
with troubles or a severe mental illness they have little chance of ever staying out of
prison for very long. Prisons are mostly an unpleasant deterrent to criminal behavior. I
believe with the proper staff we could effect real change in the environment people are
compelled to stay in. Criminal behavior is a mental illness in its self. A person who risks
incarceration took a calculated risk and lost. Crimes of passion need one treatment and
those of greed need another. Criminals desperate for survival are the least sick. They
are ignorant or proud. There are all kinds of people to help and they were out of the
loop for one reason or the other.
How Our Prison is Better
Our staff with Peace Army Training will be some nice folk for prisoners to interact with.
We will keep them safely in prison for the duration of their sentence with the intention of
making them better people by the time they get out. It will not be easy getting gentle
caring people to risk their safety to heal dangerous prisoners. Staff will also be behind
bars, some will be wearing billy clubs as it is with all prisons. Our staff will rotate so as
not to fall into a prison mindset from years behind walls where they develop resentment,
animosity, and are constantly racked with fear. A rotation of four months on and four
months off will ensure that all staff gets to spend a summer every other year outside the
All media will be tailored to be of a positive nature. They are a captive audience with
lots of time on their hands. Self-improvement should be their primary duty. Drug rehab,
anger resolution, greed arrestment, laziness, maturation, and dealing with childhood
issues will occupy much of their time. I hope to enlist trustees to often paint the place in
a more civilian motif. This is for an activity, learning a skill and most importantly a
physical change in the environment to help connote personal changes our charges are
experiencing. Besides the proven effects of colors and color screams on peoples mood,
I want to have the environmental change subconsciously register in peoples mind as
“Yes Things Change.” Some changes are so long in coming, that many small changes
are necessary. Maybe “Art Shows” behind plexi glass would help many nurturing
thoughts to be generated.
The Internet will be available for training, educational growth and reward for good
behavior. It will be used as much as we can monitor it electronically and manually.
Bit by bit we will get as many prisoners as possible through a modified Peace Army
Training program. Eventually half or more will have been through the process leading to
a safer more positive population in the prison. We will be very selective about selection
of those going through the Training,looking for signs that they are ready, able
emotionally and likely to help others. The security will be much like the criminal hospital,
more than the mental hospital, much more than a rest home and much much more than
a group home. We will be dealing with dangerous folk that entered this world as loving
lovable babies that went bad. Each prisoner will have a “Best Buddy”/ Advocate from
the Peace Army to touch base with and help through the “Training” should they be
selected to go through it.
There will be no early releases for good behavior or shock parole. If they are ready to
leave, they will be used to help other prisoners. They are ill people who broke laws and
the current paradigm says they need to be kept out of the larger community for a set
amount of time. I just want to add a large dose of love to that time. This prison is going
to be a dream prison, and knowing that, we will not leave the option open for anyone to
be sent here twice, as that would be somewhat of a reward for failure. With the prospect
of a harder prison over their head they may well try harder to improve their lives.
The last six months will be special as the reintegration phase of our prison. Life skills
such as checkbook writing, credit knowledge, cooking, laundry, job seeking skills, ect..
and drinking alcohol responsibly, will be taught. These people are going to be around
drink eventually and a controlled environment will get them to enjoy a few drinks now,
rather than get rip roaring drunk later celebrating their release and end up possibly in
They will, on their release be helped by the prisoner release program “Free Scouts” we
will have had going for many years before we under take running a prison.
We could Turn Prisons back Into Reformatories
Earth Scouting in the Peace Army
Earth Scouts is part Army/School/Job/Resort/Hospital to find hidden talent for the Peace
Army and or build new lives. We are the alternative to the army when it comes to giving
up to an entity to get a life in order. Earth Scouts are people who need some structure
in their lives but not enough to be hospitalized and don’t want to join the military. Our
Earth Scouts are border line and full blown mentally ill, chemically dependent and
retarded. We will also accept people from extremely and mildly dysfunctional homes.
We will allow them some liberties in exchange for them listening and working with us. I
don’t know it all but I know with the right people we could come up with things to grow
by. Working with people and learning life skills as a group will grow them into a more
If we don’t allow someone a few beers and or cigs. they will never let us close enough to
really help them. Working outside the “one size fits all” box we will work with people to
look at positive alternatives to wasteful, destructive and unsatisfying behavior. Getting
them to take pride in their work, converse effectively and develop a relatively
inexpensive hobby would be a good place to start a rewarding life.
Life for Earth Scouts could start at 6:30am. for breakfast and exercise. Then they get
ready for work at something they like or don’t mind too much. Lunch will be followed by
or enjoyed with some presentation/discussion for instruction/enlightenment. Personal
development classes or work will fill the afternoons. After dinner we will structure
entertainment some nights including on certain nights an open, controlled bar/coffee
Occasionally we will take field trips to add to the excitement for life and build a well
rounded life. Ropes courses, horse back riding etc. will bring out the best in them. If
we give people what they need we will not only help them but we may grow up some
people who are a big plus to the mix that makes up the Peace Army. A person
graduating from Earth Scouts will have reached the rank of Corporal and should feel
empowered to help others and or have a full set of skills to make their own way in life.
I can see us accepting folks into Earth Scouts over a period of weeks or months until we
have a group we can put through the intense two and four week training segments that
take place away from home. As those groups grow together they will most likely form
friendships based on positive experiences they have shared. When they are looking
out for each other it will free us up to help others and more importantly they will form life
long support networks and strategies. As they progress they will undoubtedly pull each
other along to the better way of life we help channel them into. The stories of people’s
successes will make good food for other lives to build on. As groups overlap and
mingle a culture of strugglers struggling together, will serve to create an environment
that anyone would thrive in. The people will be real and the environment will be as real
as we can keep it while we are being exceptionally supportive of an individual’s
Earth Scouts could form the core group to many Twelve Step groups we start meetings
for. This mix will help the larger community with our added wisdom. It will help us by
mixing on a regular basis to A. Get new perspectives. B. Be real with other people. C.
Appreciate Peace Army support. D. Strangers to extend Love
Life Skills Merit Badges
Life is full of skills many people are good or semi good at. The people we help and our
own selves will need to test out or learn all skills of living. We will provide as many ways
of doing a skill as we can. We will set up studied books to document this important, yet
taken for granted facet of life. Some can be done in groups and some are best done
one on one. Personal Hygiene, Courteous Driving, Camping, Map Reading, Auto
Maintenance, Cooking, Pet Care, Check Writing/Balancing, Credit Awareness, Home
Buying, Home Building, Home Maintenance, Land Scaping, Trip Planning, Job Seeking,
Computer Skills, Study Skills,
If we can give people steady practice at skills for several weeks at a time the skill can be
polished and a service provided. We could have people clean houses for those who
need it as a ministry and training. Classes cleaning will give our regular house cleaners
a chance to do something else for a while. Some people will want to find more old or
infirm folks who need their house cleaned from time to time. With a group of folk working
on a house the work will go fast and fun could be had. One Sargent or Lieutenant
could lead a group of five or six Earth Scouts on a day of service and deal with life skill
situations that arise on the job. Our motto might be “Work out the problem, before, you
get back to work.”
A juvenile delinquent, is an awful thing to be,
No one for to trust, but fellow criminality.
The world is hit or miss and there’s no time to really chill,
Real soon ya find the easy thing, is drink or take a pill.
The folks at church are leery, to extend a helping hand,
They know that kids are capable, of turning stone to sand.
The code they know is harsh and it’s the only one they see,
Sometimes it's live or die and strongs the only way to be.
No time for civil farthewells, you're with us or you're not,
Sometimes your bestest buddy, is the one who bought the pot.
Stealing beers at grocery stores, let’s hope we don't get caught.
Peace of mind is something that, the criminal has not.
We started out as babies, full of love for everyone.
How did we get so twisted that, we think we need a gun.
I changed my ways at twenty, finding love in lots of hippies.
It didn't happen all at once, I idolized the yippies.
Few belongings to steal and they're thoughts were real idyllic!
Maybe I can help someone, stay out of jail and live it!
By Bruce T. Duncanson