Arresting Hope

Re-imagining and enacting correctional centres to honour and support women in their long journey home to themselves.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Lynn Fels

How This Project is Carried Out

Arresting Hope is an act of hope created by a prison doctor, recreational therapist, a former inmate, and warden, who sought to empower women incarcerated within the gates of a BC correctional centre. As the research project was enacted inside the gates, women were invited to become co-researchers on the research team and to research the issues that mattered to them. The book holds the experiences, learning, and writings of the women and those who worked with them as they collectively sought to transform their prison into a place of respect, hope, and new beginnings.

Why This Project Matters

Women who have been incarcerated are often in correctional centers because of neglect, trauma, physical or sexual abuse they have experienced either as young children or women. Turning to drugs, they are trapped by their addictions, sentenced, incarcerated, yet their trauma is not addressed. This book, arising out of the research project, shares their stories, their writings, and the learning of how we might re-imagine and enact correctional centres that honours and supports women in their long journey home to themselves.

The book illustrates how performative and narrative writing that welcomes those whose voices are often silenced onto the page can result in a research document that can bring the reader to tears, help readers to see the women beyond their sentencing, to listening deeply to their stories, to arrive at a new understanding of how we as individuals and as a society might be in the presence of those who we have imprisoned.