The lifetime prevalence of PTSD among a sample of incarcerated women was 53 percent, compared with a prevalence of 10 percent in the general population.1 During the pandemic, everyone experienced isolation. However by location, our valued volunteer participants experienced lifetimes of isolation over the years they were locked in prisons. “Humans are not meant to live in solitude long term, and this lack of support and human connection is frequently traumatic, particularly when compounded with the fear of being a human being in a world with a global pandemic,” says psychotherapist Haley Neidich, LCSW.2
Community Connects is a unique program offering an opportunity for women inside to connect with the community, just as its name suggests. Many of the volunteers are all at some point of serving lengthy NYS sentences in the non-male prisons, Bedford Hills, Taconic, and Albion Correctional Facilities. In addition to a newsletter, we send $10 monthly to those inside for purchasing stamps necessary to communicate outside of the prison walls along with JPay email accounts.
Through volunteering contributions to the newsletter, they are serving the community. The newsletter’s whole purpose is to raise the morale of our loved ones inside from others who know best. Our volunteers inside do it for the same reasons people in the general population do it – to help make new friends, learn new skills, and to feel happier and healthier. The volunteer participant contributions have exceeded expectations, especially since the newsletter has grown to take up space on the website.
Volunteers Molly and Cameron are responsible for the polished finalized newsletter. Molly Hagan writes, compiles, and edits submissions, while Cameron Ringness illustrates Community Connects.
Messages of hope, resilience and empowerment that were limited to others inside are now available to anyone who visits our website. If you’re interested in joining our Community Connects team, sign up on the volunteer platform Vee.com (coming soon).