My Soul Said to Me: An Unlikely Journey Behind the Walls of Justice–Robert Roberts

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In the mid 1980s, Bob Roberts was a successful dentist, stunt flyer and racecar driver. While undergoing marital counseling he was fascinated by the psychological process and pursued his own doctorate in psychology.

Intrigued by the community-building work of M. Scott Peck, Roberts’ doctorate research consisted of applying and testing Peck’s community-building model in an environment where it seemed only a distant possibility-the prison system. It was there, in Louisiana’s Dixon Correctional Institution, where Roberts’ life was forever transformed, as would the lives of hundreds of inmates and former offenders. What started as a literacy program evolved into sessions of shared soul searching, group therapy and a celebration of the prisoners’ roots.

Although prison officials sabotaged his project, Roberts went on to found Project Return, the most successful aftercare program for former offenders in the country. Aimed at breaking the cycles of addiction, crime and violence, Project Return is the only prisoner rehabilitation program in the country funded by the U.S. Department of Justice.

This memoir is Roberts’ adventure into his heart and his conscience. It explores the darkest terrain of violence and human suffering, and the brightest terrain of redemption, human dignity and hope. It will leave readers deeply inspired, encouraged and impassioned-in awe of the human capacity to survive and recover from cruelty and hardship.