Hope House DC
In the summers of 2017 and 2018, I worked with Hope House's summer programs reuniting D.C. youth with their incarcerated fathers in federal prisons in Maryland and North Carolina. During daily visits to the prisons, youth and their fathers created murals depicting their ideal day together. This collaborative art making was a catalyst for deepening relationships, bonding, and strengthening communication. I helped facilitate these mural projects, mostly walking families through the design process and only stepping in as needed. The experience was profound.
Hope House's Mission:
At the end of 2001, Washington DC’s Lorton Correctional Institution was closed, and nearly 8,000 convicted felons from the District were transferred to federal prisons across the United States. Hope House DC was founded to serve the needs of inmates who have been taken to prisons far from the District, and has three primary purposes:
1)To create programs that strengthen ties between fathers who are incarcerated in prisons far from home and their families
2)To advocate for and raise the level of awareness of the general public about inmates and their families and their concerns;
3)To create programs for the children and families of D.C. prisoners.
Hope House DC offers programs to prisoners and their families aimed at decreasing recidivism and keeping incarcerated men connected to the community. Not surprisingly, studies have shown that prisoners who remain in contact with their families while incarcerated have a lower recidivism rate.