Frequently Asked Questions
And Why We Do What We Do
How Does a Prison Get Involved with Dance To Be Free?
Do you know of a women’s prison that could benefit? Here’s what to do:
1. Send us an email and let us know of your interest.
2. We mail (for free!) the interested prison a set of Dance To Be Free workout DVDs (7 classes, 50 minutes each) for the prison staff, recreation department, & inmates to review and experience for themselves.
3. If the DVDs generate interest, Dance To Be Free will begin talks to collaborate with the prison to bring a live Teacher Training program to the prison. DTBF brings the content, but DTBF relies on input from prison staff and inmates to create the best program for each prison’s individual needs.
4. Inmates are certified as Dance To Be Free dance instructors which provides continued sense of purpose for those still in prison as they lead recreational dance classes and meaningful skills & work opportunities for the women after their release.
Why Dance In Prison?
“Dancing is seen as a reparative experience that directly contradicts the terror, helplessness and invisibility of trauma to enable survivors to reclaim ownership of their bodies and their lives.” Bessel A. van der Kolk, MD
In addition to dancing being a healing experience for inmates suffering from PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder), recidivism is a core criminal justice concern. The Bureau of Justice Statistics states: “Nationally, 30% of adult offenders released from state prisons are re-arrested within the first six months of their release. Within three years of their release, 67% of ex-offenders return to prison.” Employment and community engagement are critical factors determining long-term success of released inmates. We aim to reduce the high rate of recidivism by addressing the root cause of why a recently released inmate would return to prison: unaddressed PTSD.
The Power of Synchronized Dancing
This quote sums up the mission of Dance To Be Free – “We have already seen and heard from the inmates at DWCF about how their social interactions have shifted since dancing together.
“In our recent study, we found that synchronizing with others while dancing raised pain tolerance. It also encouraged people to feel closer to others.” Bronwyn Tarr
Why Women In Prison?
Click below to learn about the increase in women being incarcerated:
Violence In Prison?
What does PTSD have to do with it?
Dr. Bruce Perry, a trauma specialist says we need “patterned, repetitive, rhythmic somatosensory activity, literally, bodily sensing exercises. Developmental trauma happens in the body, where pre-conscious ‘implicit memory” was laid down in the primitive brain stem (survival brain) and viscera. Long before we had a thinking frontal cortex or ‘explicit memory’ function. The list of repetitive, rhythmic regulations used for trauma by Dr. Perry, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, and Dr. Pat Ogden and others is remarkable. It includes singing, dancing, drumming, and most musical activities.” Perry’s research confirms the ease in which our program is received, whether we are dancing in maximum or medium facilities; dancing is the great equalizer and elixer of life. Racial boundaries and enemies come together in the dance.
Rates of Recidivism
Nationally, 97% of the offenders in jail today will be released and then return to the communities from which they came. Statistics show that 30% of adult offenders released from state prisons are re-arrested within the first six months of their release. Even worse, within three years of their release from prison this increases to 67%, or two out of three, ex-offenders returning to prison.” Project Hope Re-entry Initiative
Does Race Impact Incarceration Rates?
Reentry - What happens to women who are released from prison?
Reentry is a complex issue. Here are some resources for recently released prisoners in Boulder County, CO:
Bridge House: A day shelter, resource center, case management, employment program, short-term housing program for men and women. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 1603 Walnut St., Boulder; 8:30 to 11 a.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays at Boulder Shelter for the Homeless, 4869 Broadway, Boulder; 303-442-8300; boulderbridgehou
FOCUS Reentry: Pairs mentors with Boulder County Jail inmates before release to assist in transition finding housing, employment, transportation, family reunification and communication. 720-304-6446; focusreentry.org
OUR Center’s Starting Place: Provides daily hot meals, groceries, clothing, local transportation, ID assistance, prescription assistance, laundry, showers, self-sufficiency classes, referrals to night shelters and more. 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays at 220 Collyer St., Longmont; 303-772-5529; ourcenter.org.
The Reentry Initiative: Provides assistance with pre- and post-release, 72-hour transitioning, housing referrals, job readiness, mentoring, food assistance, IDs, mental health, relapse prevention, government benefits, education, transportation and legal assistance. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the OUR Center, 220 Collyer St., Longmont; 303-772-5529 Ext. 233.
REMERG: An online resource updated daily with detailed information of re–entryorganizations, community agencies, faith-based organizations and more. remerg.com.
Boulder County Jail Education and Transition Program: Helping inmates reenter the community safely and as productive members of their communities and families. Contact Community Justice Services Division Manager Monica Rotner at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jail Based Behavioral Services: Provides case management for screening, assessment and treatment for substance use disorders, and co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders for those in need while in jail and in the community upon release. Contact Case Manager Laura Spicer at email@example.com.
Partnership for Active Community Engagement (PACE): An outpatient program with Boulder County Probation Department for persons on probation who struggle with mental illness, substance abuse and criminal behavior. Contact Chief Probation Officer Greg Brown at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2-1-1 Colorado: Dial 2-1-1 for resources to all health and human services, from housing to legal assistance, across the state.
Thanks to the Boulder Daily Camera for compiling this list. To read the full Daily Camera article about reentry click here.
Is my donation tax deductible?
Yes! Please use our Tax ID #: 47-4034630
Where is my money going?
When you donate to Dance To Be Free your money goes toward operational expenses, travel/room & board, and director’s salary. It costs about $400 per inmate to certify as a dance teacher, and $5000 per prison to cover teacher training expenses.
How are the inmates benefiting from Dance To Be Free?
We’ve seen inmates healing from PTSD while gaining valuable lifestyle and employment skills for when they are released from prison. “This program gives my dreams hope.” says Mariah, a former inmate from NCCW.
Dance To Be Free is a 501c3.
All donations are tax deductible!