“Thinking for A Change” Program Eliminates Hostility, Promotes Productivity
At the Bay Correctional Facility, a program called “Thinking for a Change” is offered to the residents. It’s an intense undertaking for the men who join the class, involving several weeks of introspective instruction accompanied by lots of homework. The aim is for those who complete the program to be better suited to think through situations, especially difficult ones, and handle them appropriately.
“The whole premise of it is that your thinking changes your behavior,” says Linda Baker, the instructor of the Thinking for a Change program. “It helps to change your perception, to see things in another manner.”
William Thorne is a resident student.
“I was a lot more angry before I met Ms. Baker,” he says. “This class in particular makes you think about what’s going to happen to you, and the type of person that you want to be when you leave here. It gives you something to strive for.”
“It really showed me how to deal with people on a day-to-day basis,” adds fellow resident student, Patrick Laverne Marks. “This improved my life a lot. I can give people advice and help them if they’re having a bad day. Also, dealing with my family, as far as my daughters, helped me have a better understanding [of] communication with them.”
Warden Jesse Williams takes the opportunity to frequently visit the class and encourage the men who appreciate his desire to help them change. And they all love the sincere efforts of Ms. Baker.
“She is very personable,” Williams states. “She’s very respectful. She’s genuine. That comes through with the interaction that we had, not only in class, but afterward as well.”
“She has an open-door policy,” Patrick says. “Being able to talk with her and knowing if we need any help or anything, she’s always there for us.”
Ms. Baker sums up how she feels about the program.
“The skills that they learn, the skills that we go over are skills that they can teach their children. It’s skills that they can be better with their significant others or their wives. So, they’re just not learning it for here. I’m getting them ready to go out the door because I want them to be productive citizens. I don’t want them to display hostility because in the world that we live in, when you display hostility, then you come back to this place. I don’t want them to come back to this place. I want them to be better men than what they was when they first came.”