Soft Skills in Corrections – Offenders Teach Soft Skills at Folsom State Prison 

The inmate facilitators of the “Pace Life Skills” courses at Folsom State Prison (Represa, CA), have created a powerful program to promote ongoing education, self-evaluation, and positive thinking among their peers. The inmate-led Life Skills program, a voluntary activity that occurs in the prison yard (with an ongoing waiting lists of hundreds) is celebrating its 10-year anniversary in 2023 and 2024.

2024 Anniversary Update

In February, Dr. Susan McKee and Clint Massey of Pace Learning visited with the inmate-led Pace Life Skills program at Folsom Prison. This year, the Folsom Pace Life Skills program celebrates its 10-year Anniversary of success operating as a voluntary, self-help program on the Folsom Prison yard.

The Inmate Facilitators at Folsom, along with staff sponsors Judith Ann Bishop and Samantha Whistler, presented Dr. McKee and Clint with a new book of essays. The group organizes their classroom activities around the Pace Life Skills 25 Curriculum. Their ongoing work, in service of others, is a testament to the power of soft skills development in rehabilitation settings:

This unique program has clear positive effects on its members. In an effort to replicate their success at other institutions, the facilitators of the program have detailed a manual for teaching soft, “life skills” in a prison setting, from inmate to inmate. They utilize Pace’s Life Skills 25 curriculum, but the power to change lives comes from the facilitators and their teaching process and methods, which reach beyond the program’s weekly class and into its members’ everyday lives.

“Words are inadequate to express our appreciation of how profoundly Pace Life Skills has transformed our lives. We know that saying “Thank You” is not enough, therefore we want to show you gratitude by living what we have learned and dedicating our time to passing this blessing on to others.” ~Folsom State Prison Pace Life Skills Facilitators, Spring 2016

Those who teach know that to teach and develop ‘intangible’ soft skills is a difficult task. This task only becomes more nebulous and more difficult in the social atmosphere of long-term incarceration. Rehabilitation service providers can gain insight into teaching soft skills to inmates from the inmate’s perspective:

If you are interested in learning more about this wonderful program, or would like to connect with this program’s sponsor, please contact Clint Massey directly at ctmassey@pacelearning.com or (205) 535-9759.

Updates from Paroled Facilitators

Dr. Susan McKee of Pace Learning and Mr. Edwin McMillan, former Pace Life Skills facilitator at Folsom State Prison, have been recently featured in a series of blog posts on soft skills development in prison settings by Dr. Arielle Emmett. Read more from Dr. Emmett on her site or on Medium:

Arielle S. Emmett, Ph.D., Principal, Arielle Emmett & Associates, LLC

Member, American Society of Journalists & Authors; Contributing Editor, Smithsonian Air & Space Magazine; Fulbright Scholar Kenya (2018-2019)

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