Thursday, 15 December 2011 20:11

Teacher helps inmates to right path

Dec. 9, 2011  | 


Photo by ALAN WARD / DAILY PRESS & ARGUS / Instructor Kathy Hittle works with inmate Roger


Published in Prisoner Support

Sean Egan
Friday, August 27, 2010

(OSHKOSH) A nationally-renowned prison program with Wisconsin roots turns 15 this year.

One primary goal is to help inmates bond with their kids through reading.

"Breaking Barriers with Books" started as a pilot program in 1995, by UW-Oshkosh professor Michelina Manzi. It's since been introduced at prisons across the state and beyond. The goal is to help locked-up dads improve their reading skills so they can share popular children's books, like The Cat in the Hat and Curious George with their kids.

Published in Prisoner Support

By Amy KD Tobik | October 20, 2010

Heidi Alfonzo's face glows when she talks about her "girls." With great enthusiasm, she describes their eagerness to learn and their natural knack for writing.

For the past eight months, Alfonzo has been spending her weekends at the John E. Polk Correctional Facility in Sanford, giving incarcerated women an opportunity to study literature and use their creativity in her new class called "Do the Write Thing."

Published in Prisoner Support
Sunday, 10 October 2010 04:12

Collaborative Art Fractures Prison Walls

By Alana Yu-lan Price

The image of a hand pressed against thick glass, fingers outstretched, made its way onto Evan Bissell’s canvas because it still haunts one of his collaborators, a young woman named Chey who saw it as a child visiting  a jail.

“My dad used to do that when I’d visit him,” she wrote in a note to viewers of the “What Cannot Be Taken Away: Families and Prisons Project” at San Francisco’s SOMArts space. “The glass was so thick that you couldn’t feel any warmth.”

Chey chose to include a lotus flower because “the muddier and darker the lotus grows from, the more colorful and beautiful it will be when it blooms.”

 The collaborative art exhibition, which seeks to open our imaginations to new ideas about why harm happens and how harm can be repaired, is itself a hand pressed to the glass of the prison system, a warm-hearted attempt to create new flows of communication and empathy between people shut inside and people shut out.

Published in Prisoner Support