May 31, 2005

Mentally Ill Prison Rehab Programs, Scientology Recruiting Grounds?

The Los Angeles Times has a news story on how Criminon International (a Scientology associated group that works in many countries of the world) is providing an "anti-psychiatry" rehabilitation program in one of the California prisons.

What is important about this news story from the LA Times is that it suggests that this group is recommending people avoid anti-psychotic medications - the treatment most recommended by experts (and backed up by many well-accepted, independent, peer-reviewed clinical studies demonstrating effectiveness in treating schizophrenia). In other words, the LA Times story suggests that Criminon International is recommending people who have psychiatric diseases abandon their proven medication and treatments, and adopt Criminon's own unproven treatments. If this information is accurate, it is our opinion this it would be a gross violation of ethical and medical standards for the treatment of people who have schizophrenia.

A short except of the 5-page story follows:

Scientologists Reach Behind Bars
Eschewing psychiatry and antipsychotic drugs, secular arm of church offers rehab. Some corrections officials have promoted its use.

By Dan Morain, Times Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — Hundreds of inmates at one of California's highest-security prisons, where a fourth are mentally ill and most are serving time for violent crimes, have participated in a rehabilitation program affiliated with the Church of Scientology, which rejects traditional mental health care.

The rehab program is offered at Corcoran State Prison by Criminon International, a secular arm of Scientology, a fierce opponent of psychiatry and antipsychotic drugs given to mentally ill prisoners to regulate their impulses and behavior.

California prisons are under a federal court order to provide all necessary treatment, including medication and therapy, for mentally ill inmates.

Experts both in and outside the prison system say Criminon's presence could undermine the ability of licensed clinicians to treat mentally ill inmates. They and others worry that if inmates reject therapy, they could pose a danger to themselves or others.


"Criminologists say there are no generally accepted academic studies showing whether Criminon's techniques work. Five leading academic experts on recidivism said they had not heard of Criminon or knew little about it and were not aware of any academic studies of it. "

See this link for the full story: Scientologists Reach Behind Bars

NOTE: If you or your family has had any bad experience with (or due) to the Scientology Crimonon program - we recommend you contact the author of the Los Angeles Times article - Address it to the Attention of Dan Morain, with the title "Criminon Story" at:

More News on Criminon Program:

PacoVilla's CCPOA Blog on "Scientology behind Bars" - May 29th, 2005 (CCPOA is a web site is site dedicated to Correctional Peace Officers and the California Correctional Peace Officers Association (CCPOA).

On May 26, 2005, the St. Petersburg Times (Florida), reported that:

"A $500,000 program that uses some teachings of Church of Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard to help prison inmates likely will be vetoed by the governor today, the bill's sponsor says.

The program, known as Criminon, was quietly added to the state budget by one powerful legislator: Rep. Gus Barreiro, a Miami Beach Republican. He heads the House subcommittee overseeing billions of dollars in criminal justice spending.

Barreiro said he supported a pilot project using Criminon as a faith-based program that has worked in other states. He said he did not know whether Scientology's teachings were part of the program, and the Legislature's staff did not analyze whether Criminon was effective at rehabilitating prisoners."

On January 16, 2005, The Boston Globe reported:

"Scientology's major foothold in Indonesia seems to be a company called Criminon, which teaches Hubbard's texts to juveniles in Indonesian prisons."

On March 7th, 2003, in England, the "East Grinstead Courier" reported:

"An East Grinstead charity which works with prisoners is planning to expand its work, following the proposal of a research project into the effectiveness of its rehabilitation programme. Criminon, based in Lewes Road, runs a number of correspondence courses for prisoners, and its work is to be evaluated by senior lecturer in law at the university of Kent at Canterbury, Dr Deborah Cheney.

"We've been up and running for seven years doing this," said Criminon executive director Susan Chalmers. "We would very much like to take it to the next level, which would be actually running courses inside prison.

"But to do that, you need to have a proven success rate - and this work is very difficult to evaluate." ...

"If this proves successful," Mrs Chalmers said, "we can then move forward to an in-house programme where it can then be evaluated for recidivism." Criminon is part of an international organisation which uses the works of L Ron Hubbard to address the main factors behind offending. Programmes are running in prisons in countries as diverse as South Africa, the USA, Hungary, Israel and Mexico."

On Tue, Feb. 11, 2003, the Associated Press reported that:

Nevada lawmaker promotes prison program with Scientology link

A short excerpt of the news story follows:

CARSON CITY, Nev. - Hoping to win support for an alternative drug treatment program developed by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, a Nevada legislator wants her colleagues to join her on a trip to a Mexico prison to examine the program.

Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, has proposed legislation to establish the Second Chance Program in Nevada for the state's female prison population. The program relies on detoxification and self-betterment principles developed by Hubbard.

Angle said she has secured funding from a mystery donor for 35 legislators to take a March 1 day trip to Ensenada [Mexico] State Prison, where the program has been operating since 1995. The program claims to have lowered inmate recidivism to 10 percent.

The donor willing to pay for the lawmakers' trip is an Arizona man, but Angle wouldn't provide his name. She added that since the man isn't a registered lobbyist, he won't have to file a lobbyist spending report - so there would be no public financial record.


The Second Chance Program detoxifies inmates by administering vitamin and mineral supplements, massage and sauna treatments to drain the body of drug residue, according to the program's brochure.

The program then includes an education component, followed by a self-respect component based on Hubbard's text "The Way to Happiness". The self-respect module also includes one-on-one interviews with a guidance counselor. ... Angle said the program is not Scientology, but simply uses Hubbard's teachings.

The Second Chance Program is licensed by the criminal rehabilitation group Criminon International, a child of NARCONON International, a drug rehabilitation program. Both groups employ Hubbard's teachings in their rehabilitation efforts.

in 2001, The UK's "Independent" newspaper stated:


"The Church of Scientology, once described by a judge as "corrupt, sinister and dangerous", is under investigation by the Home Office for targeting drug -addicted prisoners.

The Home Secretary, David Blunkett, is considering banning leaflets used by the sect to recruit inmates to its anti-drug programme.

Prison groups and anti-cult campaigners fear that the organisation, whose members include the actors Tom Cruise and John Travolta, is trying to infiltrate British prisons.

Bob Keenan, a spokesman for the L Ron Hubbard Foundation, which is part of the church, said the ads were "just to inform people". However, Harry Fletcher, from the National Association of Probation Officers, said the circulation of Church of Scientology literature to prisoners and people on probation was "extremely worrying".

The leaflets are being circulated by Criminon UK, the charity which runs the sect's drugs programme. It says it uses vitamins, minerals and saunas to sweat out toxins, thereby curing addicts. Criminon says it treats up to 200 prisoners a week."

In 1998, the UK's newspaper "The Mirror" reported:


A CONTROVERSIAL cult is backing an Irish religious sect's bid to sign up dangerous criminals.

The infamous Church of Scientology is helping to target murderers and rapists in top security jails, including Arbour Hill and the Currugh, which hold dangerous sex offenders. Criminon Ireland - run by self-confessed German-born Scientologist Katrin Ruckert - is offering inmates courses based on the teachings of the late L. Ron Hubbard, founder of the Scientologists.

The group claims to be a charity but is not registered as one. It sifts through newspaper reports of rapes and murders to find names of prisoners to contact.

The letters to prisoners invite them to join courses based on the L. Ron Hubbard book The Way To Happiness. A copy of the booklet is enclosed and freepost envelopes are provided for prisoners to send their lessons back.

A jail insider in one of the tightest security prisons in the country said prisoners are receiving the letters only a week after they are put behind bars.

He said: "This is a very trying time for anyone in prison even if they have served time before.

"They are grasping at anything and the Scientologists are aware of this. They know it is a good time to approach a person who would be very vulnerable to what they are offering."


Top cult expert Mike Garde said last night that the Church of Scientology - which includes actor Tom Cruise as a member - has been experiencing falling numbers in Ireland.

He said: "That is one of the reasons why they are targetting the prisons. They are shrewd operators and know that people in prison are vulnerable to join up."

In 1997, The Scottland newspaper the "Sunday Mail" reported:

CULT TARGETS SCOTS PRISONS; Bid to snare danger men; Church of Scientology targets Scottish prisons

A sinister cult is trying to recruit some of Scotland's most dangerous prisoners.

The controversial Church of Scientology has contacted high-profile cons, including murderers and robbers, behind bars.

And yesterday prisons minister Henry McLeish promised a full investigation into the "very worrying" situation.

A jail insider said: "They seem to think our prisons are fertile recruiting grounds."

Prisoners are being sent packages offering them correspondence courses in Scientology.

One of their first targets was double hostage taker and armed robber James Holland. ...

Critics say Scientology is a dangerous movement which uses brainwashing techniques on its followers.

It's thought Criminon UK, a branch of the Scientologists, have found the violent cons' names in newspaper reports. ...

Criminon UK, run by Dutch lawyer Nico van den Berg, uses a post office box number in East Grinstead in West Sussex, where the Scientologists have their UK headquarters."

In May, 1991 in the USA, Time Magazine ran a story titled "The Thriving Cult of Greed and Power; Ruined lives. Lost fortunes. Federal crimes. Scientology poses as a religion but is really a ruthless global scam -- and aiming for the mainstream."

Time Magazine reported

"Hubbard's purification treatments are the mainstay of Narconon, a Scientology-run chain of 33 alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers -- some in prisons under the name "Criminon" -- in 12 countries. Narconon, a classic vehicle for drawing addicts into the cult, now plans to open what it calls the world's largest treatment center, a 1,400-bed facility on an Indian reservation near Newkirk, Okla. (pop. 2,400). At a 1989 ceremony in Newkirk, the Association for Better Living and Education presented Narconon a check for $200,000 and a study praising its work. The association turned out to be part of Scientology itself. Today the town is battling to keep out the cult, which has fought back through such tactics as sending private detectives to snoop on the mayor and the local newspaper publisher."

More Information: Criminon web site

Web Sites on Criminon's Activities and Organization:

Scientology in Mexico

Scientology: Organizational Structure Information


Would like more info on federal inmates and schizophrenia report on inmates and mailing info

Posted by: MIKE CONSTANTINO at March 25, 2006 08:39 PM

Most schizophrenia inmates and or others only need is time away from others and no meds strees free time for it only in the mind like a cold it needs time to heel

Posted by: MIKE CONSTANTINO at March 25, 2006 08:43 PM

this is a good.butit is not mention that rehabilitation programmes for mentally ill

Posted by: ASHISH THOMAS JACOB at March 26, 2006 04:30 AM

my doctor said I'm schizophrenic and I don't believe him.

Posted by: Rain at April 13, 2006 07:06 PM

A completely biased article which completely fails to examine the facts; instead it simply forwards generalized articles specifically chosen for their slant. This is nothing more than propaganda.

Posted by: Stewart at April 5, 2007 08:51 AM

A biased generalized narrative. To validate the claims made why not speak with those inmates who have taken the courses? I am sure that there would be plenty to say -- of the success they are having!

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Posted by: Kennedy at June 19, 2008 03:26 PM

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