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Rehabilitation is happening at Dixon prison

Published: Monday, June 10, 2013 1:15 a.m. CDT

There are many tense and hardening stories within the Illinois Department of Corrections of what’s lacking, what’s missing, what’s not being done, etc.

Here in Dixon, there is one particular program that is audacious and ingenious in its strategy, “The Positive Living Unit.” Those who have an interest in behavioral change in inmates within IDOC should look into it.

Unit 42 is a cultural revolution of penal institutions where one can reclaim personal identity success by giving of the uniqueness inside of him. There are more than 20 groups throughout the week, which include self help, focus and spiritual groups, health awareness, and tutoring classes where more than 90 percent have their GED or are in college classes.

We maintain a “quiet dayroom” where individuals and small groups engage in scholastic and religious studies. We have an in-house library, too. 

All are run by us, which nurtures positive behavioral attitudes. Many work hands-on with staff in programs within Dixon: peer AIDS educators, hospice workers, trac/orientation speakers, and violence prevention facilitators, who write and perform plays and informational programs addressing positive change. 

Yes, there’s more than bad, disheartening behaviors (those are realities of prison); however, we engage in real life, real-time solutions that deepen honor.

Question: Is rehabilitation possible? Yes. We’re on this path. Unit 42 gives men that needed opportunity “a heart transplant.”

As we stand at the precipice of our destinies in this moment, different roads lead to greater things. They expand from behaviors. The skills of respect, valor, compassionate actions, empathy, and hope are being learned. We are the architects of our tomorrows, as we become the builders of our today.

Rehabilitation in action. For more information, call or write the Dixon Correctional Center.

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