MICHIGAN DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
EARNEST C. BROOKS CORRECTIONAL FACILITY
Muskegeon Heights, MI
The Journeymen Program
On April 10, 2014, Curt L. Tofteland founded the Shakespeare Behind Bars|Michigan Journeymen circle at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. Josh Ribbens, Facilitator-in-Training, and eight Senior Mentors from the E.C. Brooks SBB|MI circle joined Curt to help facilitate the newest SBB|MI program with twenty-three of the thirty-four 18-21 year-old inmates in Level II and Level IV.
The Journeymen program is specifically designed for 18-21 year-old inmates incarcerated in the Michigan Department of Corrections.
The Journeymen program embraces the mission, vision, and values of Shakespeare Behind Bars.
The Journeymen program brings self-selected 18-21 year-old inmates together with an SBB facilitator, a group of senior mentors (alumni of the SBB/MI program at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility), and, when available, junior mentors (alumni of the Journeymen program) to work together in a sequential series of workshops over an agreed upon period of time unique to the hosting correctional institution. The program culminates in a final sharing with a potential audience composed of Michigan Department of Corrections officials, prison staff, prison inmates, and invited guests from the inmate participant’s MI DOC approved visitors list.
Each participant completing the program is presented with a Certificate of Completion, a Journeymen logo t-shirt, and a graduation photograph.
Past Journeymen Program participants have exhibited improved:
• comprehension, literacy (reading, writing, and oral communication), and critical thinking
• self-esteem and positive self-image;
• social and communication skills;
• decision making, problem-solving, and creative thinking skills;
• empathy, compassion, and trust;
• responsibility as a member of a group;
• responsibility in daily life and for crime/s committed;
• tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict skills;
• ability to relate the themes contained in Shakespeare’s works to themselves and society.
Financial support of the Journeymen program is provided by the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility’s Inmate Benefit Fund and donations from Premiere Finishing, Hope Church, and Tony Lynch-Bey.