Inmates changed through ‘7 Habits’ program
Seventeen Forsyth County Correctional Center inmates are one step closer to living productive, crime-free lives upon release, thanks to what they learned in the “The 7 Habits on the Inside” program.
Based on Stephen Covey’s popular book “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” the program challenged inmates to embrace habits and behaviors that will help them live successful lives after their release from prison. Forsyth Correctional Center is the first prison in the state to offer the program. Forsyth Jail and Prison Ministries, a Christian focused organization with more than 35 years of experience in touching the lives of incarcerated men and women, launched 7 Habits earlier this year in hopes of reducing recidivism in the local community.
“This class is a great deal of work for the participants, but the transformations that I have seen are indeed real,” said Bart Coan, a FJPM Board of Directors’ member and 7 Habits instructor. “I have been truly honored each week watching the Potter’s Hand shaping and changing each participant to be better prepared to lead more effective and enriched lives, inside and outside.”
During the 10-week course, the men heard from leaders from across the community, including Mayor Allen Joines, Wake Forest School of Law Dean Blake Morant and Joe Budd, CEO of The Budd Group and a co-sponsor of the program.
The program seeks to help participants build trust in their relationships, take initiative and responsibility for change and apply effective interpersonal communication skills.
“I have taught several faith-based courses at the ministry over the last year and a half. What has been missing, however, has been giving them the everyday life skills that will enable them to prosper while they are still incarcerated and, for society’s and their sake, have a chance to prosper and lead productive lives once they are released,” noted Robert Esleeck, a local attorney and 7 Habits instructor. “Based on my experience working with these men, the 7 Habits course of study gives them these tools and that chance.”
7 Habits on the Inside has achieved proven results, addressing negative behaviors and producing lifestyle changes that have translated into significant reductions in recidivism and infractions among participants in correctional facilities in Florida and Colorado. Nationwide, the program has been shown to reduce recidivism by 22 percent. Nearly 40 men in the Correctional Center have completed 7 Habits to date, and the program is receiving high marks from participants.
“I went into this course with the mindset that I didn’t need much help or changing,” admitted one of the inmates who participated in the second session of 7 Habits, which culminated with a graduation ceremony on Nov. 17. “The first three habits showed me a far more effective way of handling myself and, most importantly, how to prioritize matters in life,” Crawley said.
A fellow 7 Habits participant said the program has changed his outlook on life for the better. “7 Habits has been very effective,” he declared. “It’s taught me values, morals, self-respect and much more. I look at situations in a positive way now.”
For more information about FJPM visit www.forsythjpm.org., .