CCWF Compassion Prison Project transforms trauma

Central California Women’s Facility (CCWF) hosted the Compassion Prison Project to help the incarcerated identify their traumas. The Compassion Prison Project visited CCWF for three days to provide an empowering workshop. Participants learned about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and how trauma may have contributed to their past behavior and incarceration.

The Trauma-to-Transformation workshop is a safe and supportive environment. Participants explore their past, understand the symptoms of trauma, learn simple ways to heal, and step into future possibilities. The program included entertaining exercises and small group discussions that encouraged community building and connection.

“We divided the workshop to one yard each day, with a maximum of 120 participants to be in the workshop. CCWF is exploring bringing their 12-week program called Trauma Talks, to help participants find pathways to healing. We are working with administration to continue to find ways to encourage more staff to participate with the incarcerated. These workshops will continue to promote the California Model in the institution,” said Courtney Waybright, CCWF Community Resources Manager.

Incarcerated look deeper within

Through the program, participants uncover hidden and unconscious reactions. These reactions keep them from finding that their past behaviors do not define who they are. They discover the true possibilities and potentials they could not imagine before. Each week, participants look at different aspects of their lives, childhood trauma, and how to be free of pain and carried shame.

“The Compassion Prison Project arrived at CCWF to help our incarcerated women recognize and overcome physical, emotional, and social traumas. These women learn to understand the shame that results from physical and emotional abuse both as children and as adults. From this, they will learn to love themselves, forgive themselves, and have respect and compassion for others,” said Veronica Lomeli, Associate Warden.

The Compassion Prison Project helps the incarcerated women prepare to be better individuals in their greater community. It is important to provide trauma healing to our incarcerated population.

The California Model draws on international best practices to change culture within CDCR and CCHCS. The department is committed to improving working and living conditions for all who live in, work in, and visit our institution.

Story by Lt. Monique Williams, AA/PIO
Photos by Courtney Waybright, CRM
Central California Women’s Facility

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