Touchstones in Prison Education
Beginning in the late 1990’s, Touchstones staff & volunteers have visited prisons each week to co-participate in discussions with incarcerated individuals. To date, hundreds of community volunteers and several thousand incarcerated individuals have participated in Touchstones weekly sessions since the program began in Maryland state prisons. Read more about the history of this program here.
Today, Touchstones staff runs two weekly programs within the school in the Maryland Correctional Institution for Women. This program supports employment readiness, socio-emotional development, and enhanced literacy and communication skills so women at MCI-W are empowered to lead more productive and healthy lives during and after their sentences.
“There is a sort of control, order, and respect for one another in the group that I would like to see in the world.”
“The Touchstones prison program is essential both for the prisoners and for the community at large… This is a life-changing experience for them and for their loved ones. It empowers them to be better parents, siblings, or spouses. Without the opportunity for self-improvement we maintain a status quo of ongoing prison violence and negative role models that result in the continuation of a vicious cycle.”
Our program engages inmates with Touchstones staff and volunteers in authentic and open-ended examinations of their own values, beliefs, and behaviors.
By the Numbers
Learn More about the History of our Prisons Programs & Get Involved
Watch Touchstones volunteers, including cofounder Howard Zeiderman, engage with inmates in a maximum-security facility. This video shows a full-length Touchstones discussion between volunteers and inmates from shortly after the program’s inception in the 1990s.
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