On July 14, 2014, Curt L. Tofteland began the process of founding the Shakespeare Behind Bars|Michigan circle at the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. West Shoreline is the first Level I (minimum security) prison the SBB program has served.
The prisoner interest in the program was so popular (initially 138 inmates signed up) that on August 20, 2014, three groups were founded with 30 prisoner participants in each circle serving a total of 90 inmates.
Four prisoners from the SBB|MI program at E.C. Brooks Correctional Facility who qualified for Level I security were allowed to transfer to West Shoreline Correctional Facility to work as Senior Mentors in the three SBB|MI circles.
Joseph Byrd and Edward Hartline, both experienced co-facilitators at E.C. Brooks Correctional Facility, joined Founder Curt L. Tofteland to assist in facilitation.
The program embraces the mission, vision, and core values of Shakespeare Behind Bars.
Financial support of the Shakespeare Behind Bars|Michigan program was provided by the West Shoreline Correctional Facility’s Prisoner Benefit Fund and donations from the David and Carol Myers Foundation, Dick & Betty DeVos Family Foundation, John & Judy Spoelhf Foundation, Premiere Finishing, Inc., Elsa Prince Broekhuizen Foundation, Jeffrey & Margaret Padnos, Jerry & Kathleen Wittingen, Rensselar Broekhuizen, Sherrie & Doug Breuker, and Mary L. & Owen A. Aukeman.
On October 6, 2015, Curt L. Tofteland founded the Shakespeare Behind Bars|Michigan Journeymen circle at the West Shoreline Correctional Facility in Muskegon Heights, Michigan. Edward Hartline, Co-Facilitator, and one Senior Mentor from the E.C. Brooks SBB|MI circle joined Curt to help facilitate the newest SBB|MI program for18-25 year-old inmates.
The Journeymen program specifically designed for 18-25 year-old inmates incarcerated in the Michigan Department of Corrections embraces the mission, vision, and values of Shakespeare Behind Bars.
The Journeymen program brings self-selected 18-25 year-old inmates together with an SBB facilitator, a group of senior mentors (alumni of the SBB|MI program at the Earnest C. Brooks Correctional Facility) and mentors (alumni of the SBB|MI program at West Shoreline Correctional Facility), and, when available, junior mentors (alumni of the Journeymen program) to work together in a sequential series of workshops over an agreed upon period of time unique to the hosting correctional institution.