WHAT IS CRIMINON?
It is a non-profit, non-religious Organization that is dedicated to the rehabilitation of criminals. Criminon means "no crime". We use the tools and technology of a man named L. Ron Hubbard. We at Criminon Western U.S. concentrate on delivering self-help extension courses into prisons.
HOW DID YOUR GROUP GET STARTED?
Our group got started about 15 years ago. A woman by the name of Joan Lonstein heard an ex-inmate talk about doing a course in prison that really helped him and he was now getting his inmate friends to do the course. He needed help grading their lessons. So Joan started doing this and then recruited her friends. It went on from there.
WHAT INTERESTED YOU TO HELP/VOLUNTEER IN CRIMINON?
When Joan recruited friends to help, many were interested when they found out they could grade lessons from home. They were also interested in helping people make a better life for themselves. Since most people know nothing of criminal life it seemed interesting to get to know about it.
WHAT DOES YOUR GROUP DO?
We deliver and grade extension courses to inmates in prison. We have volunteers that do administration type jobs and volunteers that grade lessons.
HOW DO YOU GET FUNDING?
Right now we exist entirely on donations from private individuals and a few small businesses. We do not yet receive funding from the government or large corporations. We are working on this and would love to be able to get help from these areas.
WHAT COURSES DO YOU HAVE?
We have 7 courses. The first is The Way To Happiness and then we have other courses that cover areas in life that the inmate would like more tools or education on. Overcoming Addiction, Learning How to Study, Communication Tools, Parenting, Handling Suppression, Personal Integrity, Conditions of Life.
DO THE INMATES PAY FOR THE COURSES?
No, they are free to the inmates.
HOW IS IT DELIVERED TO THEM?
They send in an enrollment card they get from another inmate and we send them the course. When they send in their first lesson we assign a grader to them (we try to have the supervisor in the same state). The grader corrects the lesson and sends the inmate a grade and or corrections( we supply the envelopes and stamps) and the inmates continues to send in lessons and the grader corrects. When the inmate is done and has successfully finished the course he/she gets a certificate of completion.
HOW MANY VOLUNTEERS DO YOU HAVE?
We have 20 part-time office staff and about 200 graders.
HOW MUCH TRAINING AND HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO GRADE THE LESSONS?
We like volunteers to take at least 10 inmates. This can be adjusted depending on the graders time availability. We have a full training manual for the grader/supervisor to study before grading lessons. When the grader is ready for inmates they are assigned and sent to their home. The grader reads the lessons and grades them. The grader sends a letter and the grades back to the inmate with any corrections using our letterhead and envelopes. It usually takes a 3-4 week turn around for the inmate to get a reply. The at home time takes about 3-5 hours a week, but you have a lag in the mail system, so you may have no mail for weeks at a time.
ARE THERE OTHER CRIMINON ORGANIZATIONS?
We have an International office that takes care of the Criminon organizations worldwide. From WUS we have groups in Northern CA, WA, UT, AZ, CO, and Texas.
WHAT DO THESE COURSES DO FOR THE INMATE?
We have the inmates do TWTH first. The reason for this is simple. The inmate at some point went off the rails for whatever reason and he/she turned criminal. What the first course does is help them regain their self worth. It does this by showing them the guidelines for happy living and gives them a moral code that they can apply to life.
HOW MANY INMATES DO YOU SERVICE AT ANY GIVEN TIME?
We currently maintain around 1800-2000 active inmates at any given time.
HOW MANY HAVE DONE THE PROGRAM OR HAVE BEEN INTERESTED IN IT?
We currently have about 19000 inmates on our files. About 8-9 thousand have been on the program.
TELL ME MORE ABOUT "THE WAY TO HAPPINESS" AND WHY THAT IS THE FIRST COURSE THE INMATE TAKES?
This common sense morals course written by LRH gives all people a guideline or road to happier living. Inmates especially need some stable road signs to use as tools to get them to change their life.
This extension course has 20 lessons. It has these rules/virtues that are given to the inmate. Like the Golden Rule or an example is good sportsmanship and they are required to practice the virtues (rules about life) in their environment and see what happens to them. The purpose of this demonstration is to give them a hands-on experience with the idea that they are the ones creating their own happiness or likewise unhappiness.
A lot of inmates have never taken the time to see that by their actions results are made. This of course can be good or bad. TWTH shows them they can be good.
HOW MANY PRISONS ARE YOU SERVICING?
We are currently in about 3000 prisons.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
Once the inmate is enrolled, he does the extension course, and once completed the inmate gets a certificate. He can then sign up for another course. This continues until he gets paroled or finishes all the courses.
WHO CAN YOU CALL OR WRITE TO IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS OR WANT MORE INFORMATION?
Criminon West U.S. address is PO Box 9091 Glendale CA 91026 323-254-6008. www.criminonwus.org
ARE DONATIONS TAX DEDUCTABLE?
Yes, we are a non-profit corporation.
WHAT KIND OF RESULTS DO YOU GET?
We change lives. We get success stories/testimonials from each and every inmate that finishes a course. If we have achieved with the inmate, in returning his self-respect we have done our job. This way he will go back out in society and have a moral road to follow and more tools to help him survive better.
CAN ANYONE DO THE PROGRAM?
Anyone in prison can do the program for free. Anyone else pays $125.00 for each extension course and the supervision through to completion.
WHAT ARE THE GUIDELINES?
We deliver to inmates in prison. No other guidelines than that. If an inmate starts while in prison he can by all means finish when he is on the outside. If someone other than someone in prison is interested in the program, all they have to do is go online at www.criminonwus.org and sign up or write to us at Criminon West US. PO Box 9091, Glendale CA 91206 to enroll.