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Homosexual Inmates taking advantage of our SMART program offered through EBI
SOCIAL MENTORING ACADEMIC AND REHABILITATIVE TRAINING (SMART)
The SMART program is another of EBI's unique flagship programs. Created thirteen years ago at Men's Central Jail, SMART has been and remains a pioneer and an internationally recognized model in dealing with the multiple issues experienced by gay and transgender inmates within the jail system.
SMART was originally designed to protect vulnerable gay and transgender men from assaults and victimization by other inmates in the jails. The program then grew, through the creative leadership of its originators and their staff, from a protective segregation instrument into a complete, multidisciplinary
Today, SMART occupies its own section of MCJ, including classrooms, libraries, study areas, offices for career and personal affairs counselors, and other services usually associated with community colleges or universities. The program now has a capacity of 280 students, and consistently operates near full capacity. As human rights for gay and transgender Americans have progressed in recent years, SMART has been gradually increasing its student body to include non-gay inmates who nonetheless suffer from similar risks of assault or violence when placed in the general population. The results of this integration are exceptionally positive.
One of the hallmarks of SMART is the wrap-around, intensive nature of the learning process. Students are in class daily, for a weekly total of 30 hours. The curriculum is varied and eclectic, and is constantly a work in progress. The program features a growing number of modern learning combinations, such as:
Applied psychology as a survival tool;
Yoga, Pilates, and learning meditation processes;
Learning and memory improvement techniques;
Basic math and its applications to logic and problem-solving;
Combining art, music, and ethics;
Hypnotherapy as a reinforcement tool in drug and alcohol addiction treatment.
SMART courses are taught by Deputies and Custody Assistants assigned to the unit, as well as by community volunteers and administrators of community-based services for released inmates. The program has attained widespread recognition, and attracts prominent teachers as volunteers from universities and research institutes throughout the United States. Their active teaching, facilitation, and dialogue with SMART students not only inspires enthusiasm among the students, but also is a subject of nationwide coverage in academic and professional literature.
A recent example is an in-depth study of SMART published in March 2012, in The Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology (Northwestern University School of Law), listed as reference No. 14 in the List of References at the end of this booklet. The EBI Bureau also considers SMART as a valuable research laboratory for more widespread application of hybrid and interdisciplinary techniques.
For more information visit the EBI website at:
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