California Model, Rehabilitation

Compassion Prison Project visits VSP

The Compassion Prison Project embarked on a transformative three-day journey visiting the population at Valley State Prison (VSP).

The project’s trauma-to-transformation workshop has been making a profound impact on the lives of incarcerated individuals. They provide them with the tools to address their past traumas and create positive change.

The heart of the workshop is the Compassion Trauma Circle. This group exercise prompts participants to share their experiences of childhood trauma. Participants step into a supportive circle and respond to questions about their traumatic events.

This exercise serves as a catalyst for introspection and understanding. Participants recognize the origins of their behavioral issues and identify negative behavioral patterns.

Throughout the workshop, attendees delve into various themes, including:

  • Symptoms of Trauma and PTSD
  • self-limiting beliefs and their resolution
  • self-forgiveness
  • and personal empowerment.

VSP and Compassion Prison Project collaborate

Fritzi Horstman, the founder of the Compassion Prison Project, shared her excitement about the project’s collaboration with VSP.

“The men have found value with the material, learning about how their childhood affected their behavior and choices later in life. Many men report that this program is changing how they view themselves, their families, and their relationships. It is helping them become better parents as well,” said Horstman.

Warden McVay emphasized the significance of the “Trauma Talks” program in aiding incarcerated individuals’ in their self-discovery journey.

“By addressing trauma’s effects, these individuals empower themselves to face their past, recognize its impact on current behavior, and enact positive changes. The collaboration between VSP and the Compassion Prison Project marks a significant stride towards a more understanding and compassionate approach to incarceration,” said McVay.

Story submitted by Lt. H. Gastelum Jr, AA/PIO
Valley State Prison

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