Group therapy

New program helps incarcerated women cope with trauma and mental illness

Though a Bureau of Justice report shows that nationwide, 73% of women in state prisons have a mental health problem, few prisons offer anger management or addiction programs geared towards women. A pilot program at the largest women-only prison in California is trying to change that. The program, Beyond Violence, aims to rehabilitate women convicted of violent crimes by helping them deal with past traumas through group therapy rather than focusing on preventing future crimes.

Participant Kaieesha Franklin told Al Jazeera, “I didn’t know what trauma was. At home, there’s no such thing as self-help groups, or figuring out what’s going on, or why your family’s sick and why they’re doing the things they’re doing. I just know I’m hurting inside this house.”

Beyond Violence’s roots go back to 2010 when the Michigan Department of Corrections asked Psychologist Stephanie Covington to create a program for violent female offenders. By 2012, research found that levels of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses significantly declined in participants. A year later, their drug use had dropped when compared to non-participants as well.

Read the full story at Al Jazeera.

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