The Scientology-Based “Re-Education” Program for American Prisoners, Sponsored by Goldman Sachs


In an investigative report for the influence, Sarah Beller traces down the influences on “Moral Reconation Therapy” a common substance abuse program used in prisons across the US. “Moral Reconation Therapy reflects the idea that people who end up incarcerated are morally inferior—and that is why they are in a prison. It’s an idea that anyone familiar with the history of the War on Drugs, for example, would reject,” Beller writes. “And the more I investigated MRT, the more I found there was something significantly wrong with this program—and that no one seemed to realize or care.”

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  1. Sounds like this MRT stuff is based on EST, not on Scientology. The EST founder was a disaffected Scientology adherent who modified/borrowed/stole a lot of stuff from Hubbard and gave it a different spin. It doesn’t surprise me there are similarities in the presentation, but if the founders were trained in EST, the history suggests that this similarity comes from the similarity of EST to Scientology. It does not appear to be “based on Scientology” except in a very indirect way through the EST movement.

    Not that this means anything pro or con about it. I don’t give a crap what something’s based on, as long as it works. I just like things to be factual, and if you read the article, there is no evidence of any historical connection to Scientology, only to EST. So the headline was definitely misleading.

    Interestingly, I tried searching Google for history of MRT and came up very empty. Whatever connection they may have to any other organization seems to be completely unavailable.

    —- Steve

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    • Steve

      Whether or not or exactly how much this is influenced by Scientology and/or 12 Step dogma does not negate the main point and overall value of this important expose’. This Moral Reconation Therapy MRT (that apparently is pervasive in the prison system) is a thoroughly reactionary and backward attempt to brainwash people in the prison system to believe that they alone are responsible for their position in life.

      This completely lets the status quo (a trauma filled, class based, profit system) off the hook and focuses people are their own “moral” failures as being the cause of their oppression. All programs like MRT should be exposed and opposed.

      Anyone interested in what is going on in the prisons and/or prison movement should read this article.


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      • Yup. That Est. As you can see, Scientologists have a longstanding grudge against Est. They view Est as having misappropriated their stuff.

        I agree, Richard, that authoritarian approaches to morality are not a good bet and can be very dangerous. But it does seem to be amazingly popular in the prison system for some reason. I’m not that familiar with it, but it’s definitely a thing.

        —- Steve

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        • EST has always sounded totalitarian to me. Picking between the two sounds like Sophie’s Choice in reverse.

          Not surprising this would be a thing in prison; it performs the same function as psychiatry, which is to get people to blame themselves for objectively oppressive circumstances.

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