One important fact we’ve learned over several years of working with men and women in prison, is that they nearly all harbor some level of anger in their lives. In fact, most will admit that it really is the foundation of their problems – it’s what caused their convictions and subsequent imprisonment.
While most States have mandatory Anger Management classes in their prisons, they are all secular by design. The distortion of the term ‘Separation between Church and State’ prevents them from including anything relating to God, any God, in their curriculum. As a result, their courses leave out the one thing that truly can help an inmate understand and manage their anger issues – God’s word – the Holy Bible!
Bibles 4 Change has developed just such a course. We call it the Christian Anger Management Project or CAMP, for short. Its central textbook is called “The Anger Management Workbook” written by DR. Wes Carter and Frank Minirth. Sadly, God has called Dr. Minirth home but we have spoken to Dr. Carter and he is in full support of our using this book as our text.
The workbook is broken down into 13 lessons, so we take 2 class sessions to cover 1 lesson. (A class session is 2 hours, once a week). In addition, we have 2 supplemental reading books ‘Anger – Taming a Powerful Emotion’, by Gary Chapman and ‘Uprooting Anger’, by Robert D. Jones. The expectation is that students will read Anger, ‘Taming a Powerful Emotion’ by the end of the first 13 weeks and submit a written report on its impact on their anger issues. The second, ‘Uprooting Anger’ will be due around the 26th week. This means then, that our entire course is expected to take around 30 weeks.
The workbook examines a concept of anger in each lesson and then asks several, fill-in-the-blank questions that make up the homework assignment for that week. These questions are designed to draw out self-examination and then open minded, open hearted discussion of their answers in the classroom session. Throughout these sessions we refer to Bible verses that relate to that session’s topic. We talk openly and freely about what God has to say about these issues.
We have completed multiple courses at Folsom State Prison in California, refining the course as we gain more knowledge and experiences with a variety of inmates. The response from our students has really been remarkable. They have been talking this up to other inmates and these people have been coming to us in other services to be sure to include them when the next class starts.
I am proud to be joined in this effort by solid Christian volunteers, Kathleen Jackson and Ben Pavan. Our team is in lock-step with the program and with each other, and we all agree that we are extremely blessed by this work and this group of men that God has sent us. We sincerely look forward to each class.
We often receive letters from people based on their experiences with C.A.M.P. We've collected them below so you can see how these people feel after spending time with us.
These letters are copied directly from their letters so their structure and spelling may not be perfect, but you can tell their messages are from the heart.
Our weekly classroom sessions look something like this –
We arrange the tables in the room in a circle. This way, everyone can see everyone as they speak. We volunteers scatter ourselves among them. We decided that the
classroom setting with the teacher up front, at a podium lecturing, was not an environment that would encourage open participation, an absolute key to any success in this class.
At the onset of the course each inmate had to sign a Code of Conduct agreement. One of its key points was ‘What ever is said in the classroom, stays in the classroom’. Because of this, men have begun to express some very deeply felt and personal things with the class. Some have been brought to tears as they began to see and understand the origins of their anger issues.
After opening prayer, we begin with what we call ‘Check in’. We go around the room and everyone describes a case of anger they experienced last week. It can be about something that made them angry or about an outburst of anger in others. Sometimes, open discussion follows some of these testimonies, rich with ideas and content.
After check in, we begin with the first fill-in question in the workbook, randomly going around the room for students to tell us how they answered the question. We have already discovered that sometimes the 2 hour a session is not enough time to adequately cover the material in that half of a lesson. The second half of lesson 1 took 2 sessions to cover, and that’s ok. We established from day One that we would not rush through or skim over any part of a lesson. Designing this course as a 30 week class was a loosely set rule of thumb. The class will run as long as it takes to thoroughly cover the material.
Then at the end of each session, we join hands and someone prays us out. It’s a beautiful thing!
"Here at old Folsom State:
Christian Anger Management Project (C.A.M.P.) is one of the most impactful classes I have enrolled in. The best part is that it is a Christian base program. I recommend this class to all. This program has helped me to realize and identify my anger problems. By managing my anger I am a happier person. Realizing how my anger affected my life has helped me to be a better person in all areas of life.
This course has given me tools to hold on to and to use when I get angry. I am very thankful for all the sponsors who take time to come in and teach us the curriculum. Folsom Prison very blessed to have this program. Our mantra says it all “All angry expressions are a result of choices - choices I get to make. God, please help me make the right choices".
I want to thank “Bibles 4 change” for sponsoring this program. May God continue to bless this ministry as God has blest me. I pray that many men and women have a great positive impact after enrolling in this program."
Thank you for your help and support. Amen.
"Peace & Blessings to you all.
I’d love to Thank Brother Bob, Sister Kathleen, and Brother Ben. I highly recommend this class to everyone who’s looking to change their lives in a way that one will never regret. This class helped me to get closer to GOD and to recognize my attacks from the evils of this world. This class have used the “TRUE TOOL” of all tools “The Bible” along with 3 other books on anger that changed not only my life, but about 25 other brother’s in our group. This class teaches you how to focus on fighting our anger. Our Anger is a Powerful Emotion and everyone who’s reading this now, if you truly want to better yourself. As your Brother in CHRIST, you & I may never meet each other on earth, but I can promise you by taking his class GOD will surely allow you & I to meet in the coming of the LORD.
Through the people who’s pushing class, GOD is doing wonderful work through them. I pray peace and blessings, great health, be upon Brother Bob, Brother Ben and Sister Kathleen. Sharing this letter about this class with you is an example of how Paul was writing and sharing ‘THE GOOD NEWS’, in the NEW Testament. Christ, says he who has ear’s let him hear. YOU won’t regret taking this class becoming a better you, and allowing GOD to work in your life."
Peace & Blessing to you always
Brother in CHRIST Albert
Blessed Be the LORD of Israel from Everlasting to Everlasting AMEN!
"The Christian Anger Management Project is a reasonable program. I think it should be priority for all inmates with who yearn for positive change. In this program of C.A.M.P., you learn how to manager your anger with learn and easy comprehension. It teaches you the nature of insight and how to make right choices, so you can perhaps change your bad physical mental attitude.
Because emotional anger comes in many forms, I for one, have learnt how to recognize triggers and how to defuse them with my learned coping skills. Christian Anger Management Project has taught me how to retain peace of mind, joyful spirit, and love for all of humanity. When I make the right choice, the knowledge, I gained will have its positive impact on others. Knowing the root cause of anger, I have gained in-valuable knowledge with in-depth insight on how to managing my emotions much better.
I am truly grateful for grace to be a graduate of Christian Anger Management Project. With pure gratitude, I give thanks to the facilitator Mr. Bob Morris, Mr. Ben, and Mrs. Kathleen. Thank you all for your wonder program."
"I would like to thank brother Bob Morris and everyone who is part of C.A.M.P. at Folsom State Prison. This program has been a blessing for me and everyone who had attended.
The teaching of real life stories shared in the workbook, plus the supplements books, Taming Anger, Uprooting Anger have taught me how to deal with anger issues.
Today I have the insight to deal, with difficult situations in life.
I hope this program continues to grow in every prison in this country and beyond.
Thank you so much."
"Hello my name is Christian. I am writing this to express my gratitude for the support of the Christian Anger Management Prog. (C.A.M.P.) I’d not participated in any faith-based programs before and I must admit I was not left wanting.
The curriculum of itself is very effective for personal and spiritual growth. I personally gained a new perspective of God, life and ultimately, myself.
The facilitators are just as efficient as well as proficient in all matters pertinent to the program and the Word of God. Bob, Ben and Cathleen are not just professional but also very caring and compassionate. I am truly grateful to and for them.
I hope you continue in this ministry and know that you do make a difference: I am proof of this.
Thank you and God Bless."
"One of the aspects I enjoyed most regarding the Christian Anger Management Project is the depth of the lessons and curriculum. I found tremendous value and strength in hearing my peers and the volunteer facilitators articulate their struggles with anger. My life is forever impacted in sharing my personal struggles as well as listening to others share theirs.
The class was not intended to fix me as it was more designed to define and introduce me to anger. I now understand that anger is an emotion that every human being experiences. The key for me and every other person is whether we will allow anger to rule or control us. For me, I choose to follow Jesus and to obey the word of God. I have a much clearer idea after taking the class as to what God says about 'anger'."