Incarcerated women in Shakopee, MN connect with their past and explore new paths for the future through visual journaling.
The Women in Prison's Soul Journal program engages women at the Women's Correctional Facility in Shakopee, Minnesota. Creative Spirit works with mother's, Native American and grandmothers groups, and women serving long-term sentences in creating a journal using words and images to reflect upon their lives and cultures, and to express their concerns, hopes and paths toward transformation. Due to popular demand, our program has recently expanded to include the Challenge Incarceration Program (CIP), a boot camp for women to re-enter society.
The women learn to creatively express their thoughts, feelings, beliefs and spirituality. The journal becomes a new form of self-expression and the program invites women to a deeper level of self-understanding, a way out of emotional isolation and a new opportunity to participate in a more holistic community with and compassion for other inmates.
Please read-on to see what some of the female prisoners have to say.
From participants in the long-term sentencing group:
“I wish I could continue in Soul Journal because the impact in just 5 sessions helped me want to be a better person each day than my whole 45 years of living.”
Soul Journal has opened my eyes to the women around me, to all of our hopes and hurts. And that I can and I, we, will make it through this! It may be the pattern in here to deny our present emotions. Yet, denial is what hurts us too. So to admit and reflect, I am able to move forward, with hope.”
“I came to class hopeless, but have realized I do have reasons to be hopeful today . . .now! Thank you. I’ve always been told who I am or how I’m supposed to think, so it was a great challenge to get to know who I am.”
From the Mother's Group:
"You do an amazing job. It means so much to have someone care and take time for us. I've been very emotional through this whole process. It has kept me from holding in, allowed me to express my feelings."
"Ms. Gabriel was a great teacher. She gave me great subjects to share with my son (age 8). This class was a wonderful way to spend Saturday morning. THANK YOU!"
"This class enabled me to find some peace and solitude, express myself and feel and learn more about me. Deep soul-searching. Relaxing atmosphere. AWESOME."
This program is so successful that the prison administration and prisoners have requested that more inmates receive the program and more time allowed for each group! We would like to offer more programming and be able to replicate this program elsewhere. Additional funding is needed to make this happen. Please note, the prison does not provide any funding for this program. The program is totally funded by donations and grants. Creative Spirit is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible.