About the unPrison Project

The unPrison Project works to build literacy, mentoring, and life skills capacity  for women and girls in prisons, and for their children, to help cultivate critical thinking as tools to plan, set goals, and prepare for successful life after prison, and at the same time bring public awareness about mass incarceration. PrisonBaby 3D

Founder of The unPrison Project
Author  |  Professional Speaker  |  Motivator

djs278Deborah Jiang-Stein, author of the memoir, Prison Baby (Beacon Press) founded the nonprofit, the unPrison Project, to serve incarcerated women and girls, and other marginalized communities, as well as the professionals who work with them—to empower, inspire, and cultivate critical thinking, life skills, self-reflection, and peer mentoring.

“Who Says the Past Must Define Us?” TEDx in Marion Correctional

Deborah is the author of the memoir, Prison Baby (Beacon Press.) She was born inside a prison, deep in the Appalachia Mountains in West Virginia.

After a year living inside the prison, like many in these circumstances, she entered foster care. Later adopted, she grew up in Seattle, and today, uses this story of success, which took years to advocate for education and literacy, and to offer tips for resilience and recovery as evidence that anyone can transform, no matter how the odds are stacked.

“Thank you for emerging the kind and whole person your words make clear you are.”

“Deborah Jiang Stein’s story offers hope to the possibility of personal transformation for anyone. No punches pulled. Deborah is evidence of the magnificent resilience of the human spirit.”
—SISTER HELEN PREJEAN, author of Dead Man Walking and Pulitzer Prize nominee

“The ways this woman discovers herself, via the revelation of her birth mother and her reconciliation with her adoptive mother, show us how dramatically different worlds intersect, and why those intersections are so important to who we are.… A powerful story.”
—PIPER KERMAN, author of Orange Is the New Black

Rising above early trauma and cultural isolation, Deborah is a skilled storyteller who uses her one-of-a-kind story of hardship, triumph, transformation, and healing to lift others. Her spirit is imprinted with resilience and purpose as she stands as a motivator and educator. Her work draws others to reflect, act, and join in the humanity of this work.

The unPrison Project programs and servies offer a curriculm about

• Cultural Identity
• Mentoring
• Creative Self-Discovery and Expression
• Personal Wellness and Healing
• Child Welfare and Transracial Adoption
• Education and  Literacy
• Juvenile Justice
• Motivation and Purpose
• Social Change and Healing
• Youth Development
• Community and Family
• Compassion Fatigue

Contact our Founder and Executive Director

deborah@deborahstein.com  |  facebook.com/deborahjiangstein  |  twitter @deborahdash

Presentation topics:

SECOND CHANCES: Steps to Overcome Obstacles and Beat the Odds
RESILIENCE & REINVENTION: Basics for Bouncing Back
THE POWER OF HOPE: Freedom to Choose Attitudes and Defy Despair

Deborah Jiang-Stein’s personal story of resilience resonates with all.  Her search to overcome adversity is inspirational, for she finds triumph against great odds that began as a special needs and at-risk child: born heroin-addicted in a federal prison, Deborah chronicles the challenges that cursed her childhood, all compounded with her multi-racial identity.  After a life on the edge, she re-frames herself into the positive force she is today: writer, entrepreneur, mother, inventor… wild mind.

From rebellion to survival, Deborah conveys through her unique perspective that although progress is not always linear, it is always possible.  She encourages others with her belief that a positive attitude supported by education, creativity, and critical relationships are key to resilience and personal change. Deborah’s presentations are relevant not only for those in the margins, but for anyone who desires to transform and grow.


  • Women’s groups
  • Social Clubs
  • Social and human services
  • Mental health
  • Youth and at-risk
  • Foster care and adoption
  • Child welfare
  • Employee, business, and civic groups
  • Spirituality and faith groups
  • Addiction and recovery

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