council for insight, compassion & resilience

Our award-winning program for incarcerated individuals has been offered since 2013 and has been launched in 29 California prisons. The program contributes to a shift in culture within jails and prisons and equips participants with tools for successful reentry and reintegration into their communities upon release.

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California state prisons


incarcerated program participants

a transformative program for incarcerated individuals

Council for Insight, Compassion & Resilience (formerly the Inmate Council Program) is a six-month intervention in which participating incarcerated individuals are trained to facilitate council sessions for their peers, empowering them to become positive agents of change, on the yard, and in their lives.

The program contributes to a shift of culture within jails and prisons and equips participants with tools for successful reentry and reintegration into their communities upon release.

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evidence-based rehabilitative program for Incarcerated individuals

benefits of our programs in prisons

Physical aggression

Verbal aggression

PTSD symptomatology



Social connectedness




Researchers affiliated with UCLA and RAND Corporation found that our Council for Insight, Compassion & Resilience program for incarcerated participants demonstrated significant positive change in socio-cognitive functioning.

Research studies have revealed pronounced reductions in physical and verbal aggression and PTSD symptomatology, as well as marked increases in social connectedness, mindfulness, perspective-taking, and resilience.

Council for Insight, Compassion & Resilience is a 6-month program designed for incarcerated participants that teaches the practice of council and its facilitation. CICR includes elements of the Introduction to Council Workshop offered by Beyond Us & Them, though tailored for use inside prison. After the initial 16-hour training workshop, participants follow exercises and activities provided in the course manual, exploring topics that unfold in a proscribed evolution and they gather every week to discuss and practice council, facilitated by rotating members of the group. Council topics correspond to the material covered in the participant manual.

The CICR program's pedagogy is based on mindfulness and restorative justice principles, focusing on taking responsibility for past behavior and the harm caused to victims, to others who have been impacted (friends, family, community) and passed down through generations.

29 California state prisons

Beyond Us & Them has implemented the Council for Insight, Compassion & Resilience in 29 prison facilities operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. The majority of the programs began as a result of the Innovative Grant Program, which was established in 2015 by CDCR to support and advance inmate rehabilitation efforts and increase volunteerism in prisons across the state.

If you'd like to discuss bringing the Council for Insight, Compassion and Resilience to your Prison, please contact our team for details.

what participants have to say about our programs:

Watch the powerful stories of our CICR program

council reentry program

There are so many challenges that formerly incarcerated individuals face upon release, including finding housing and employment, the stigma of being an “ex-offender” and the repair and renewal of supportive and healthy relationships with families and friends.

Beyond Us & Them's Council Reentry Program addresses the needs of formerly incarcerated individuals returning home and committed to successful reentry.

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funding our programs in prisons

We are grateful for funding that has come through private sources (including the JIB Fund Community Building Initiative), supplementing the state-funded programs and enabling us to expand the reach of the program to several additional facilities.

If you'd like to find out more about supporting our work with incarcerated and system-impacted individuals, click below.

Leaving Prison Behind: A Council Before I Go

Leaving Prison Behind... is a beautiful and powerful illustrated novella that was created to be a resource for individuals facing the challenges of incarceration, rehabilitation and the path to freedom. It weaves the words, stories and insights of system-impacted individuals and those who support them.

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supported projects


los angeles reentry collaborative

The Los Angeles Reentry Collaborative is an initiative launched and hosted by Beyond Us & Them that weaves a network of organizations serving formerly incarcerated individuals with the intention of supporting successful reentry and reintegration and reducing recidivism in Central and South Los Angeles.

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latest news

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Restorative Justice on the Rise

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A Paradigm shift: Prison Reentry Council Project article

Interested in our prison or rentry programs?

If you'd like to find out more about bringing our Council for Insight, Compassion & Resilience program or Council Reentry Program to your prison, please contact our team to discuss.