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Type Penological Rehabilitation Program
Affiliations Scientology
Remarks Part of Association for Better Living and Education network

Criminon is a program for rehabilitating prisoners using L. Ron Hubbard's teachings. Criminon International, a non-profit, public-benefit corporation managing the Criminon program, was spawned from Narconon International in 2000, and is part of Association for Better Living and Education's public outreach programs.[1] Criminon is promoted by the Church of Scientology International. Independent experts contend that methods used by the program are not supported by any scientific studies.[2][3]

"Second Chance", another prison-based rehabilitation program for prisoners, is closely related to Criminon, from which it licenses the techniques and materials used in its program.[2][3]

Criminon is said to be a prison-based version of Narconon, as the Purification Rundown detoxification and training procedures are also parts of the program.[4]


  • Criminon's program 1
  • Controversies 2
  • See also 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6

Criminon's program

The program has used correspondence materials to treat hundreds of prisoners at the high security Narconon, and other "social betterment" programs.[6]

The program includes courses with questions requiring written answers. The responses are evaluated by volunteers and the materials are donated, so the program is provided free to the state. Included in one pamphlet is an essay in which Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard writes, "There is not one institutional psychiatrist alive who by ordinary criminal law could not be arraigned and convicted of extortion, mayhem, or murder."[5][7]

Hubbard's 1981 booklet, The Way to Happiness, is an integral part of the program, setting forth precepts such as "Do not take harmful drugs", "Be faithful to your sexual partner", "Do not tell harmful lies", "Don't do anything illegal", "Do not steal", and "Do not murder".

Criminon is also available under the name Second Chance, which licenses the Criminon materials.


Some critics question the long-term success of Criminon's program citing a lack of independent, peer-reviewed studies.[5] As Criminon's Web site notes, the core of the prison program is the booklet, The Way to Happiness.

In 1997, Judge Stephen Rushing, a Pinellas County, Florida, judge, received criticism and raised eyebrows from other judges when he began sentencing defendants to a program called "Impulse Control" that was run by Criminon. Rushing said the people running the course promised they would not try to convert anyone. However the paper noted that many critics have suggested that Criminon was being used as a recruiting tool. Rushing stated that if the program turned out to be nothing but a ploy to promote Scientology, "I owe an apology to the people I put in that program."[6]

Criminon has also been criticized for promoting Scientology's [5]

In 2006, in New Mexico, government funding for the Second Chance program was cut when information on the program and its connections came to light.[2][8]

Then-Nevada assembly member Sharron Angle supported the use of "Second Chance Program" in 2003.[9] Angle sponsored legislation aimed at placing this program in women's prisons in Nevada.[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Form 990". 2000. 2001-11-20. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  2. ^ a b c Garcia, David Alire (2009-06-16). "Taking Chances". Santa Fe Reporter. Retrieved 2007-09-01. 
  3. ^ a b Neff, Erin (2003-02-14). "Lawmakers shy away from prison project". Las Vegas SUN, Inc. Retrieved 2009-06-16. 
  4. ^ "Prozac Frees Ex-Scientology Leader from Depression". The Psychiatric Times (CME, Inc.). June 1991. p. 1. 
  5. ^ a b c d e "Scientologists Reach Behind Bars", 29 May 2005, Los Angeles Times
  6. ^ a b Craig Pittman "Classes for defendants have ties to church" St. Petersburg Times February 2, 1997 pg. 1
  7. ^ L. Ron Hubbard, "Crime and Psychiatry", 1969.
  8. ^ "Drug-rehab deal linked to politics, Scientology" (video). KRQE News 13. 2006-08-29. Retrieved 2007-01-16.  Albuquerque, New Mexico.
  9. ^ a b Vogel, Ed (February 14, 2003). "Lawmakers urged to skip trip to view prison program".  

Further reading

External links

  • Criminon International Official website
  • "Scientology FAQs: What is the Criminon program?". Answer to a commonly asked question.  
  • Scientology program may fall to budget ax 26 May 2005 St. Petersburg Times
  • Second Chance Program Second Chance has a licensing agreement with Criminon International.
  • Second Chance Program Ensenada
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