Blog: Write UP, Rise UP

The unPrison Project team is excited to launch Write UP, Rise UP, our refreshed blog. Our blog will be a place to share stories about the issues women and girls face in prison and how these are tied to systems of oppression in the US. You’ll hear from currently and formerly incarcerated women as well as first hand accounts from our empowerment training programs. We’ll share impact information, success stories as well as keep you informed on policy matters. This is where we will announce updates to our work including new programs, media spotlights and exciting partnerships.

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Podcasts About Prison

January 12, 2023
If you’re interested in learning more about life during, after, and beyond incarceration, consider the following podcasts. They feature the . . . . READ FULL BLOG



Financial Benefit of Correctional Education

December 1, 2022
Many people are aware that incarcerated individuals seek education while living within the prison system. The benefits of this to both the individual and to society are  . . . . READ FULL BLOG


Poor-Quality Food as Violence: Ngeri Nnachi

November 17, 2022
I often think about the little liberties that I take for granted, and which my brother, as an incarcerated person, is not experiencing. For example, I have the chance to open up the refrigerator and just stand there, seeking out an opportunity to eat something that satisfies not just hunger, but.  . . . . READ FULL BLOG


Showing Up For My Brother: Ngeri Nnachi

September 29, 2022
Having an incarcerated loved one is challenging. Finding balance between being there for them in the ways that they need and maintaining your own quality of life per your standard can be equally as challenging. My younger brother is serving a nineteen year sentence and it’s been hard managing that. At this point in time.  . . . . READ FULL BLOG


What’s in a name?: David Breakspear

September 15, 2022
When we are born, we are given a first name, last name, and some may have one or more names in the middle of those two. As we grow up, going through the education system, our last name dominates and is used to identify us. It would sound a bit silly.. . . . . READ FULL BLOG


Changed Breaths: Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

September 1, 2022
The Prison Education Project (PEP) “aims to educate, empower, and transform the lives of incarcerated individuals.” Many prisons now offer movement and mindfulness programs to help reduce stress, improve mood, and promote physical fitness. . . . . READ FULL BLOG


How Incarcerated Parents Can Stay Connected With Their Children (Part 2): Danielle Cotter

August 18, 2022
Communication generates, sustains, and empowers relationships. Consistent communication between a parent and their child(ren) while the parent is incarcerated is paramount to positive attachment and well-being for all involved. . . . . . READ FULL BLOG


How Incarcerated Parents Can Stay Connected With Their Children (Part 1): Danielle Cotter

August 4, 2022
Children and parents alike are greatly impacted by a parent’s incarceration. Evidence-based research shows it’s essential to maintain and strengthen contact for the relationship to thrive and to ward off possible damaging effects from prolonged separation. . . . . READ FULL BLOG


Dad! Where are you?: David Breakspear

July 14, 2022
Children Heard and Seen is a “UK charity supporting children and families impacted by parental imprisonment in their own community.” According to their website, it is estimated that approximately. 312,000 children per year have a parent in prison.. . . . . READ FULL BLOG


Reflections at Dawn (Part 2): Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

June 30, 2022
Writing my story and reading Tessa’s story freed something in me. I let go of the shame of my past. Tessa was so kind when she read my thickly coiled words upon the page and offered me the forgiveness I had yet to give myself. . . . . READ FULL BLOG


Reflections at Dawn (Part 1): Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

June 16, 2022
When I volunteered for the Prison Education Project (PEP) and signed up to facilitate the Introduction to Autobiography class, I had no inkling that this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship; a friendship with teaching, writing, myself, and my student Tessa. . . . READ FULL BLOG


Home Sweet Home: David Breakspear

June 2, 2022
I’m not suggesting that my childhood home caused me problems. I’m confident in saying that without my childhood home, I’d have been in a lot worse position than I was, even though that wasn’t great. . . . READ FULL BLOG


Love 2 Learn: David Breakspear

May 12, 2022
I have loved learning all my life. School, however, was not for me. From day one, I had problems with nursery, infant, junior, and secondary school before being permanently excluded. But I had no problems with learning. That’s the thing with learning: it is everywhere. . . READ FULL BLOG


Are We Together (Part 2): Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

April 27, 2022
We continued our creative writing class with The Prison Education Project (PEP) at Luzira Maximum Security Prison in Uganda, Africa. We had gotten to know our writers and even to hear some of their story ideas. In the third class, the writers were invited to read a piece they worked on for homewor.. . . READ FULL BLOG


Are We Together (Part 1): Jacqueline Mantz Rodriguez

April 13, 2022
“I look deep into the lion’s eyes. It was me or him, so I stab him with my spear.  Chack, chack, chack, whumpf, whumpf,” said the writer as he grasped an imaginary spear and puffed out his cheeks to make the sound of the spear hitting the lion’s flesh. Helin, Los, and I were open-mouthed as we listened to our fellow writers as they sat together in white plastic chairs with their journals and pencils in hand, telling their stories via Zoom in our final creative writing class. … . . READ FULL BLOG

Why Did She Leave?: Koren (Korey) Brand

March 24, 2022
I saw her standing there
Yesterday morning,
Our eyes meet
And when my brain and my heart realize that it is her,
I turn my head
And focus my eyes
Far away.

What I’m Focusing on in Recovery: Katelynn (Katie) Joy Thibodeau

March 10, 2022
In my journey of recovery I have focused hard on becoming my best self, no matter what roadblocks stand in my way. One major goal I have for my life is to continue with my education, and eventually work on becoming a child psychologist. In recovery I have taken every opportunity to help others… . . READ FULL BLOG


Meet Katie

February 24, 2022
My name is Katelynn Joy Thibodeau, I lived 26 long and rough years. I spent those years moving around the New England states of Vermont, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. Currently residing in the state of Vermont, and for the first time in those 26 years, I have stability. I got engaged last summer, to a woman who has a similar life history to myself. She challenges me daily to be the person I always dreamed of, but I did not believe was possible.. . . READ FULL BLOG

New Year, New Skills: Koren (Korey) Brand

January 13, 2022
As a young child, I was diagnosed with various mental illnesses. This was only the beginning of my childhood challenges. I was in second grade, about 7 years old, when I was first put on medication. I remember that day like it was yesterday. Even the first medications I was prescribed; adderall and risperidone. It was set up for me to get my meds in the nurse’s office at school daily. I remember feeling as though I was different from all of the other kids. . . READ FULL BLOG

My Fight Song: Koren (Korey) Brand

December 16, 2021
I take on more than I can accomplish sometimes,
The challenge keeps me sharp in my mind.
I want to help the people I love,
The people I once knew, who struggle with the same things that I once did, the things that I still do.
I preach to loved ones to not give money to those in active addiction,
How important this concept is. . . READ FULL BLOG

Meet Korey

December 5, 2021
Meet Korey, a 33 year old with an aversion to submission. Submission to addiction, submission to her mental illnesses (all of them), submission to being homeless and alone, submission to “the man”, and submission to backing down (from literally ANY fight) . It’s true she loves a good fight, but most of the battles she has faced were anything but “good”.