Author of The Men’s Workshop, James Enoch Banks is a remarkable person. He grew up in a depressed neighborhood in Gary, Indiana. Despite the fact that he had a loving family, he ended up in prison like so many other young black males. African American males are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white males. James has served eighteen years of a 28-year prison sentence for Aggravated Robbery. He is scheduled to be released in June 2021.
Challenged by his nine-year old son, he asked himself how he ended up in prison. Over several years, he taught what he learned to other inmates. He finalized the teaching into a student handbook named The Men’s Workshop. The course is a how to to redemption and restoration.
The course was taught for the first time using The Men’s Workshop material in the common rooms of eight different dorms in Torres Prison January through March 2020. The results are extraordinary.
Men told their personal stories for the first time. Men who had walked down the same paths listened. They shared stories about who they had injured and how their families had suffered in their absences. They shared their pain. They began to forgive themselves and to experience healing.
A generous couple donated the money to have The Men’s Workshop published. Our plans are to work with prison authorities so that the course can be offered in prisons throughout America. It is a big dream. Someday the wisdom in this book will empower former inmates to be restored to good and full lives, empowered to help vulnerable youth avoid the destructive paths the former inmates took.