In 2022, thanks to funding by the Herbert Simon Family Foundation, CMBM kicked off Hope and Healing for Indiana Prisons, marking our first project behind prison walls. Working with the Indiana Department of Corrections, the project is geared at teaching mind-body skills to incarcerated people and prison staff, and is taking place over two years.
Our first workshops, attended by over 54 incarcerated women, were held in person on September 8, 2022 at the Indiana Women’s Prison. Our Founder and CEO, James S. Gordon, MD, and CMBM Faculty Member Sabrina N’Diaye, PhD, LCSW-C led the workshops, supported by Madeline Welch, Program Manager, and Raquel McCarthy, Project Manager. CMBM and the Simon Foundation hope that the program will become a model for prisons in Indiana and across the US.
Participants shared stories of trauma, their desire for healing, and the connections that they find with one another. Their contributions demonstrated both the necessity of this program and the infinite potential for healing and growth in this community. 20 of those who attended were selected to participate in our in-person Professional Training Program in Mind-Body Medicine and Advanced Training Program in Mind-Body Medicine in the fall of 2022. They continued to receive supervision and ongoing support, practicing their skills through the winter to prepare them to lead groups, with supervision.
In 2023, our team has begun providing the same training and support to bring mind-body skills to the incarcerated men and prison staff at Plainfield Correctional Facility. The work at Plainfield began with an introductory workshop, facilitated by Dr. Gordon and Dr. Sabrina N’Diaye. Participants were interested and engaged. This August, a cohort of incarcerated men will complete our Advanced Training Program, preparing them to share skills with others. Staff from throughout the system have also attended our online Professional and Advanced Training Programs, and are starting groups with staff and incarcerated and detained persons.