Frequently Asked Questions

And Why We Do What We Do

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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 (11 classes, 60 minutes each) for the prison staff, recreation department to review before implementing program. If approved - to be viewed 1 or more times per week.

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 our original curriculum, music, journal prompts and DVDs for each training.

4. Inmates are certified as Dance To Be Free dance instructors which allows our graduates to sustain the program themselves. DTBF returns to each prison for numerous trainings where we certify new students while working with our original trainees (if they are still at the facility).

 

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

Inmate friends, Krystal Watts, left, and Stephanie Foster, give each other a high five after one of the dance songs. Members of Alchemy of Movement in Boulder have started the Dance To Be Free program at Denver Women's Correctional Facility. For more photos and a video, go to www.dailycamera.com
Cliff Grassmick Staff Photographer November 15, 2015

Why Women In Prison?

Click below to learn about the increase in women being incarcerated:

This is why women in prison are the fastest growing prison population

What does Complex Trauma and PTSD have to do with it?

"Complex trauma describes both children’s exposure to multiple traumatic events—often of an invasive, interpersonal nature—and the wide-ranging, long-term effects of this exposure. These events are severe and pervasive, such as abuse or profound neglect. They usually occur early in life and can disrupt many aspects of the child’s development and the formation of a sense of self. Since these events often occur with a caregiver, they interfere with the child’s ability to form a secure attachment. Many aspects of a child’s healthy physical and mental development rely on this primary source of safety and stability." (nctsn.org)

In order to heal trauma that lives in the body, 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 results we are experiencing inside of our 13 prisons; whether we are dancing in maximum or medium security facilities our students are hungry for our alternative approach. For the most part they have been exposed to cognitive therapy which has its limitations due to the physical nature of trauma.

Rates and Cost 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

The US spends $80 Billion a year on incarceration. The cost of recidivism outweighs the cost of programming!

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; 303-442-8300boulderbridgehouse.org.

FOCUS Reentry: Pairs mentors with Boulder County Jail inmates before release to assist in transition finding housing, employment, transportation, family reunification and communication. 720-304-6446focusreentry.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; 303-772-5529ourcenter.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 mrotner@bouldercounty.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 lspicer@btxs.org.

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 greg.brown@judicial.state.co.us or call 303-441-4730.

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 the director's salary. It costs about $400 per inmate to certify as a dance teacher, and $6k per out of state prison to cover teacher training expenses.

 

Dance To Be Free is a 501(c)3.

All donations are tax deductible!

 

Know of a Women's Prison That Could Benefit or Have a Question?

Contact Us.

We will get back to you as soon as we can!

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