A very nice story in the magazine of my alma mater, USF Magazine, about helping others as he was once helped himself.

We have always felt that the most effective reformation work with criminals will come from reformed criminals who become deep knowledge leaders, which I wrote about in my first book, The Criminal’s Search for God

Deep Knowledge Leadership

Borkman (1999) refers to dual-status professionals as:

Experientialists, people with a problem who have successfully recovered from it, become dual-status professionals with experiential and professional knowledge…” (p.90)

Building on Borkman’s definition, a deep knowledge leader would be a triple-status professional, with deep experience in the criminal world, including several years of incarceration in a maximum security prison, higher learning in the academy, and advanced study in the social teaching of the Catholic Church.

The deep knowledge concept, in one form or another, has been expressed by many leaders in social capital building. Bill Shore (1996) talks about working from your experience to help solve social problems:

What it does mean [speaking to the proposal of charity taking over government social work] is the government programs must be complemented by individual citizens organized and deployed to apply their special skills and talents on a scale that’s never been tried before or even imagined. It means teaching nutrition and food budgeting to young mothers if you are a chef, tutoring math if you are an accountant, coaching if you are an athlete, examining children if you are a doctor, building homes if you are a carpenter or builder. (p.8)

And while much of this is now being done, it can be done, as Shore says, on a much larger scale and deep knowledge leaders would embrace this scaling up as it would be congruent with their triple-status focus.

Liberation theology proposed that one had to do, or “faith in doing”, as Merkle (2004) remarks:

Liberation theologians thus link their work with and for the poor to the intellectual search of theology, faith seeking understanding. They hold that the work for the poor makes it possible for them to do better theology. Theology is a second act, done at sundown, after concrete work for justice has been done. For liberation theologians the decision to commit to the poor arises not simply from moral impulse; it is an act of faith. This “faith in doing” or praxis gives one a different access to the truth than intellectual pursuit alone. To take the perspective of the poor, or to serve them, in some way, gives one a “new spirit” or new way of doing theology. The world of the poor becomes the privileged locus of the presence and revelation of God.” (p. 157)

Deep knowledge leadership—rather than taking the perspective of the criminal, or serving them to gain a new spirit, as much of the work with the marginal within the Church has been done under this rubric—is a going beyond. It is faith in being rather than faith in doing.

The spiritual aspect of deep knowledge leadership implies a spiritual maturity earned through experience, education, and the punishment of prison, an important octave of the way of perfection, noted by Skotnicki (2006):

Early monastic rules reveal that punishment was seen as therapeutic. It was a necessary compliment to the quest for spiritual perfection. (p.88)

The way of perfection is congruent with organizational upward growth and there is often an entrepreneurial vision— enhancing the process of organizational scaling up— fused with the motivation of those who have suffered, transformed their suffering, and now seek to heal others.

Bornstein (2004) quotes Peter F. Drucker on the power social entrepreneurs wield:

The social entrepreneur changes the performance capacity of society. (p.2),

Trying to determine what drives social entrepreneurs; Bornstein interviewed 100 of them and found:

I heard the same story again and again. Someone had experienced an intense kind of pain that branded them in some way. They said, ‘I had to do this. There was nothing else I could do.” (p. 240)

It was the pain of her suffering at losing her child to a drunk driver that inspired Candy Lightner to found MADD. It was the pain of his unresolved alcoholism that inspired Bill W. to found Alcoholics Anonymous. It was the pain of discrimination that inspired Martin Luther King to found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. It was the pain of his suffering in the prisons and streets of America which propelled Malcolm X into mythic status as a leader in the black liberation movement. It was the deep pain of drug addiction, imprisonment, and the scorn of others that led John Maher to found Delancey Street.

Great leaders grow from great pain. They must act, they must change the circumstances which led to their suffering, and they embrace transformation.

This then is the nexus where the transformed criminal—the deep knowledge leader— can play a role; where those who have transformed their suffering into the power of teaching can help us all.

Deep knowledge leaders, fighting ignorance, lies and evil, are well-armored to fight a war they have already won within themselves. (pp. 60-64)

Lukenbill, D.H. (2006) The Criminal’s Search for God: Criminal Transformation, Catholic Social Teaching, Deep Knowledge Leadership, and Communal Reentry. Sacramento, California: Chulu Press, Lampstand Foundation.

For links to all of our books go to http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=david+h+lukenbill

An excerpt from the USF Magazine article.

Graduate student Luis Aroche MPA ’15 is on the frontlines of the fight to reduce California’s overcrowded prisons, now at more than 140 percent of capacity.

In just two years, he’s reduced recidivism 19 percent among San Francisco offenders in the volatile 18- to 25-year-old age group, and kept about 90 offenders out of jail or state prison, according to the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office.

Aroche, 35, is in a unique position—he directs the city’s Alternative Sentencing Program (ASP), the only position of its kind in the country.

He identifies low-level offenders that he believes are the most likely to be successfully rehabilitated and, through in-depth interviews and background checks, tries to gauge how ready they are to reform.

Aroche then works with prosecutors and defense attorneys to create a probationary sentence that avoids jail time but includes at least one mandatory program to help address the root cause of the problem, such as drug rehabilitation, personal and family counseling, or tutoring.

San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón created ASP in 2012 as an alternative to the one-size-fits-all approach to prosecution and sentencing that he says helped create California’s over-  crowded prisons in the first place.

One success story is a 19-year-old pot smoker who went on a robbery spree with a BB gun in the city’s Mission District in 2012. He faced three to five years in prison, but on Aroche’s recommendation the young father and high school dropout was ordered to begin drug rehab and take classes in anger management and parenting.

Two years later, he’s earned a GED, received custody of his daughter, and works full time.

“Incarcerating him wasn’t necessarily going to stop him from smoking or getting a job or schooling,” Gascón said.

“I call it smart sentencing,” said Aroche, who is an example of successful reform. By age 16, he had been arrested for assault and attempted robbery and spent three years in juvenile detention facilities. While there, he learned that his older brother had been sentenced to life in prison for a double homicide. Two other brothers were incarcerated.

He decided that a life in prison wasn’t the road he wanted to take and promised a prosecutor he would change. The prosecutor then helped him land his first job, cleaning swimming pools. Aroche went on to earn a GED and a degree in counseling psychology from the California Institute of Integral Studies.

Retrieved January 16, 2015 from http://www.usfca.edu/magazine/luisaroche/