One frantic call from the local jail catapults an entire family on a frightening journey that no family would wish to travel. Their traumatic journey encounters endless frustration and infuriating madness from which there is no escape. Millions of Americans are traumatized by the mass incarceration in this country. The Unvarnished Truth about the Prison Family Journey is an exceptional resource for prison families, as well as those serving them in the fields of criminal justice, education, ministry and mental health care. The authors have over fifty years combined personal and professional experience with the criminal justice system. They weave graphic personal, legal and emotional perspectives into a rare and boldly honest look at the realities faced by prison families. They offer encouragement and hope for successfully navigating the journey. Click on the photo for information.
We are partnering with a Dane County project that will be offering art classes for the children of incarcerated parents. Cultural Connections inspires youth with an incarcerated parent to build self-empowerment and confidence. Their tools are creative academics and equitable access to cultural capital. The program will be held at the Boys and Girls Club in Madison, WI. We look forward to assisting with the promotion of this program. Click here for information.
Wellness Recovery Action Plan (WRAP) workshops are provided by a Nationally Certified WRAP Facilitator. The Wellness Recovery Action Plan® or WRAP®, is a self-designed prevention and wellness process that anyone can use to get well, stay well and make their life the way they want it to be. It was developed in 1997 by a group of people who were searching for ways to overcome their own mental health issues and move on to fulfilling their life dreams and goals. It is now used extensively by people in all kinds of circumstances, and by health care and mental health systems all over the world to address all kinds of physical, mental health and life issues. Group size is 10-12 people and available to Community Corrections and other organizations. Assistance with individuals working on their WRAP plans is also available. To receive details about our workshops including fees please visit our contact page.
The Demeter Foundation provides services and supports to LGBTQ women in the Wisconsin Women's Correctional System and is now a state listed resource for Black and Pink in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. https://www.facebook.com/MKEBlackandPink/
Executive Director, Alice Pauser, gave a presentation to the Madison chapter of PFLAG on May 20, 2018 on being the parent of a gay woman in the prison system.
There's an estimated 2000 children in Dane County with a parent in prison, 5M nationwide. They suffer from more adverse childhood experiences than any other population of children suffering from disparities in our city. I wrote on this topic not because of Damien, but because of his father and and all of those other kids who've had a parent arrested and taken from the home at night yet ended up in the classroom the next morning expected to act like every other kid. As a Madison school's sub, I see kids playing out their trauma in the classroom everyday. It's heartbreaking and no one has the answers. I certainly don't. But here are the facts...Pat Dillon http://isthmus.com/news/cover-story/who-looks-out-for-children-when-their-parents-go-to-prison/
By Wendy Sawyer, Prison Policy Initiative
The story of women’s prison growth has been obscured by overly broad discussions of the “total” prison population for too long. This report sheds more light on women in the era of mass incarceration by tracking prison population trends since 1978 for all 50 states. The analysis identifies places where recent reforms appear to have had a disparate effect on women, and offers states recommendations to reverse mass incarceration for women alongside men. https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/women_overtime.html
Report Backs Early Intervention for Serious Mental Illness-May help keep people with psychiatric conditions out of criminal justice system
by Shannon Firth, Washington Correspondent, MedPage Today December 14, 2017
WASHINGTON -- Identifying individuals with serious mental illness early, keeping them out of emergency rooms and jails, and increasing their access to quality care formed the basis of the recommendations of a new committee charged with improving mental healthcare across the country in a report released Thursday.
Great news!!! 2018 4W Summit on Women, Gender, and Well-Being, Our Bodies, Our Earth: Voice, Violence and Peacemaking
April 12-14, 2018
University of Wisconsin Madison
Congratulations! The program review committee of the 2018 4W Summit on Women, Gender, and Well-being has accepted your proposal to offer a full PANEL at the conference...
Our presentation is on Hope, Humanity and Holistic Care regarding the social justice movement and history surrounding women and policies and procedures in the Wisconsin Women's Correctional System. My co-presenter again this year is Madeline Martin a social justice artist whose work details the lives of these strong, resilient women. She is an MFA candidate at UW-Milwaukee and her work is extraordinary. There will also be the opportunity to hear from formerly incarcerated women.
We will have our resource and networking table again. Thank you to the University of Wisconsin...Alice F. Pauser
A time and place for GRATITUDE,
Are you kidding me? You are telling me to be thankful in the midst of these circumstances in this time and place! You want me to be thankful in a world that has gone mad! You must have lost your mind dude.
What I am saying is the ability to have an attitude of gratitude is a matter of choice. Even when it looks like my life is falling apart (and it feels like it is as I type this) the truth is that the pieces may actually be falling into place.
There have been times in my life when I have chosen to be grateful for even the memory of what gratitude felt like, much less had any.
Even fearing that this blog may get lengthy I feel the need to tell a story. I will give you the short version.
In 1992, in the midst of one of the darkest times in my life, I was in Sedona, Arizona at a small mom and pop shop that sold one product. It was kaleidoscopes. Some were very cheap and you would give one to a young child to play with. A couple other ones had precious stones and were ridiculously expensive. You would put one up on a shelf so that it wouldn’t get broken. They both have one thing in common.
I picked up a cheap one and put it up so that I could look through the end of it. As I did I felt what turned out to be a hand cover the other end of it. A man asked me: “what can you see?” I told him that it was so dark that I couldn’t see the light. He then removed his hand and repeated the question. I told him that I could now see light through a blur of colors. Finally I was told to take my free hand and turn the end of the kaleidoscope one click. When I did the light became a brilliant pattern of colors. It was beautiful! I was told that these were my choices for the rest of my life.
Here’s my point to this story. For me when things are dark (or even distorted and blurred) I need to reach out and ask someone to help me make that click.
This story is being written the day after Thanksgiving and asking for us to be thankful. The holidays can be times of great joy, but they can be lonely times feeling like nobody gives a shit about us. That hurts and it can suck the hope out of us until it is hard to breathe. If you are reading this, and it’s hard to make out the words because of the darkness, give yourself a break and reach out and ask for help.
It is a message for all of us. To the ladies who are presently incarcerated (and their loved ones) please have a safe holiday season filled with gratitude for the people who believe in you and will never give up hope. For the ladies who are getting ready to walk out the gate or the ones who are now trying to reintegrate back into the communities you came from, I hope you have made the one click and see a future full of hope.
From all of us at the Demeter Foundation to all of you, regardless of your role in the Wisconsin Department of Corrections, know that we care for all of you.
Demeter Foundation Board President,
Amnesty International created a bill of rights for women in custody. The document spells out basic civil rights for incarcerated women. You can read the document here.