Prison residents have two choices:  (1) sit back, “watch their toenails grow” – as stated by a TEDxMarionCorrectional speaker – and wait for their prison term end or (2) choose to “program” to release their hurt and destructive lifestyles, and turn to more productive, constructive and empowering activities.  Programs can be vocational, faith-based, prosocial, recovery-based, new skills development, etc.  They are all meant to prepare residents for successful reentry and minimize recidivism.  Thanks to CA Prop 57, good behavior and participation in qualified programs also allow residents to earn time off their sentence.

Brilliance Inside already runs a number of programs at Donovan state prison.  And, by the way, volunteers are always welcome to participate in any of these programs.  Reach out if interested.


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TEDxDonovanCorrectional is a conversation between disconnected worlds.  The day-long event is attended by 100 “first come, first served” outside attendees – most in prison for the first time – and 100 Donovan residents.  The attendees sit side-by-side absorbing the heart and wisdom of 12 TEDx talks and performances, given by 5 inside speakers and 5 outsides speakers.  During the following three hours, attendees engage in TEDxpression, small group conversations facilitated by 60 inside Communicators.  Everyone ended the day connected to our common humanity, walking away with a glimpse into the unknown world of the “other.”

A Core Team of Donovan residents ideate, strategize, plan, orchestrate, drive and implement every single detail of the day-long event.  They did not help us organize; we – outside volunteers – helped them organize the event.

Enjoy the 13 talks and performances recorded at TEDxDonovanCorrectional 2017.

Round 2 is coming!  TEDxDonovanCorrectional is only the second US prison TEDx to be recurring.  Save the date – March 11th – Reasoning with Reality.  Interested in tickets?

Want to learn more? Read the press for TEDxDonovanCorrectional!


donovan 7People always know best what serves them.  And that goes for the Donovan residents as well.  Therefore, instead of telling them what programs we’re bringing to Donovan, we bring the program participants through an ideation and product development process.  Over the three month process, the residents understand their target audience(s) and their needs, identify solutions to these needs and prioritize new program and enhancement ideas they wish to bring to their prison yard before presenting them to prison administration for selection.

 30-day Compassion It Challenge

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Compassion in Prison?  Yes!  Brilliance Inside teamed up with Compassion It to bring its 30-day Compassion It Challenge to the Donovan residents.  While participants around the world completed an act of compassion every day in October, so did Donovan residents!  The residents wrote stories every week about their experiences and a number of these were shared with the Challenge outside participants.

Conflict Resolution

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Conflict is unavoidable.  What is avoidable is the violent response.  In addition to bringing decades of conflict resolution experience, we provide a safe space for the men to experiment with proven tools and techniques and learn to implement them into their lives outside of the program.  Participants experience self-awareness and self-acceptance, as well as forgiving and being forgiven. By the end of the program, participants have examined their own conflict behaviors and practiced behaviors that lead to compromise and collaboration.  

Guest Speakers

donovan 5With the wealth of knowledge and experience in each of you, combined with the residents’ insatiable desire to learn and grow, we also create a platform for experts to share their expertise, tools, passion, stories and hearts with the residents.  We’ve already hosted guest speakers on conflict resolution, spoken word, improv, motivational talks, etc.