PROJECT LIBERATION workshops are currently conducted in 12 weekcycles with an average class of 10 women in New York. They will roll out Nationally (inside and outside of prisons) over the next two years.
Each year approximately 700,000 people are released from jails and prisons in the Unit- ed States and face considerable obstacles to successfully re-integrating back into their families, schools and and communities as law abiding citizens. Many come from, and/or re-enter to the challenges and trauma of poverty, abuse, addiction, and poor physical and mental health or just simply the stigma and stress of criminal justice involvement. Unfortunately, as many as two thirds of those people will return to prison within 3 years. Many state and federal agencies have mounted ambitious prisoner reentry initiatives in response to surging corrections costs and the harmful effects of large scale incarceration on families and communities,. However, as evidenced by the large recidivism rate, none have yet to be convincingly successful. Why do some individuals bounce back from adversity, while others fall apart? While the answer depends on the individual, it is clear that when a person i! s not at their best physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually, their families, jobs, schooling,and communities suffer as a result. Project Liberation embraces all of the Principles of the U.S. Department of Justice’s newly released Road map to Reentry by building a safe, consistent and nurturing environment that meets the criminal justice involved on the inside and welcomes them on the outside. We hope to leave no woman behind.
Ivy Woolf Turk is an ICF Certified Professional Life Coach in private practice and Founder of Project Liberation. Formerly Co-Creator and Director of the blackbird project at WPA, she is also a board member of Liberation Prison Yoga, a consultant to the Justice Advocacy Group, LLC in Alexandria, VA., a 2016 Center for Social Innovation Agent of Change Fellow, and a Founding member of the National Council of Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls. She is also a motivational speaker on criminal justice related issues.
Ivy has an extremely unique perspective on incarceration, homelessness and reentry. A former executive in the advertising and real estate businesses, she found herself caught up in a situation with criminal consequences. While incarcerated, Ivy taught GED English literacy, Yoga and Meditation to groups of demographically diverse women. She also co-created C.H.O.I.C.E.S., a group of inmates that went out into the community to speak to at-risk youth about the consequences of poor choices. Ivy worked with the District Attorney of Connecticut on an Anti- Gun Violence campaign and a movie called the 5k Motion. After serving 4 years of a 5-year sentence in Federal prison, she not only has her own perspective and experience with the whole incarceration process, but that of the hundreds of women with whom she worked with while imprisoned as well as upon reentry.