The California Institute of Integral Studies Project: Men Living in Prison

The prisons project
Jeanne Catherine
Nici Butchart

Jeanne Catherine & Nici Butchart

February 21, 2023

Jeanne is the co-founder, COO, and lead scientist of Innate Health ResearchNici is Managing Director of Innate Health Research as well as a researcher, practitioner, and wellbeing specialist.

One of our first invitations to conduct research and one of our earliest studies emerged from Jaqueline Hollows, founder of Beyond Recovery. Jacqueline understood the power of evidence for opening doors to new locations and scaling programming. She asked Innate Health Research to conduct an efficacy investigation into the Insight to Well-being program delivered in a high-security prison in Nottingham, England. Men living in prison suffer from a lack of programming and often receive little to no support for positive mental health outcomes. Jacqueline and her team reported startling changes within the men they worked with. This intrigued us and we developed our first ethics-approved, HMPPS-reviewed, and governor-approved mixed-method design.

Project Team

As a Ph.D. student at the California Institute of Integral Studies (CIIS) and Executive Director of Three Principles of Research and Consulting, Jeanne Catherine was perfectly poised for designing her first research project with a team of support. Dr. Douglas MacDonald served as the projects senior faculty advisor and clinical psychologist, Dr. Adriaan Denkers partnered on the quantitative design and analysis, Jacqueline Hollows advised on the program impact and client needs, and Dani Palade provided onsite research supervision for in-person enrollment, data collection (survey’s and interviews), and program liaison.

Our Process

This project was our first team effort, and we created a model by which future projects would be adapted and built. Key to the research design was the waitlist control. While the intent was to create a randomized control trial, the reality was that prisoners were recruited to the program first. As the research team did not want to impact program processes, we ultimately used the waitlist as the control group. This is one of the benefits of working with an agile and responsive team. We adapt to the needs of the volunteers while remaining independent from the program partners. In this study, we also collected two kinds of qualitative data: semi-structured interviews with the control group and the intervention group, and micro-phenomenological interviews examining a self-proclaimed experience of insight (a moment when participants reported a significant change in their thinking, when a new thought, one they had never had before, changed their behavior in a positive way).

Our Impact

Jacquline and her team have shared the results and built further support, funding, and reach for the Insight to Well-being program - in and beyond the prison setting. Collaborating on such a complex research project has also positioned Jacqueline as a leading expert in her field, enabling her to contribute to the important conversation about innate health. As with all our research projects, each partner plays a key role in sharing the results with a diverse range of stakeholders and potentially influencing mental health policies and approaches. Discover the groundbreaking insights from this research into mental health rehabilitation in UK prisons, connecting innate health teachings to transformative outcomes. Click here to read our peer-reviewed article.

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