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What We Do

Heart to Heart empowers men and women to live increasingly free and fruitful lives in correctional facilities and in other community settings. Our work builds on Dr. Marshall Rosenberg’s Nonviolent Communication and other sources.  Strongly influenced by Gandhi, Dr. Rosenberg’s approach offers a powerful framework for understanding ourselves, empathizing with other people, and communicating in a way that acknowledges and cares about everyone's needs.

Our trainers lead mindfulness practices and teach Nonviolent Communication, yoga, meditation, the healing of trauma, and more. We support learners, both within correctional institutions and in local communities, in developing the skills and awareness needed to thrive.

We focus on skills that help all of us live our lives to the fullest:   Mindfulness, Empathy, Decision-Making, and Conflict Resolution​ (MEDC).

Why Our Work Matters

  • The U.S. incarcerates a higher percentage of its own population than any other nation on the planet.

  • 1 in every 100 Americans is a prisoner.

  • People of Color are disproportionately incarcerated: among African American men aged 20 to 34, one in 9 is incarcerated.

  • Over 58% of all prisoners are parents with children aged 18 or younger.

The effects of this mass incarceration extend beyond prison walls. Children, spouses, families and entire neighborhoods are suffering along with those who are living in prison. The roots of mass incarceration are firmly planted in a culture of punishment that pervades our criminal justice system, our educational institutions, our families, and our treatment of one another.

Heart to Heart’s powerful alternative is a culture of relationship. We cultivate this in the very places where punishment is prevalent -- yes, in America’s jails and prisons -- but also in our local communities. We offer training in essential skills that enable people to relate compassionately and effectively to peers, family members, and even those we struggle to love. By forming Heart-to-Heart learning communities on both sides of those prison walls, we help individuals discover new, positive, and successful pathways to healing.

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