Healing Trauma at Lockhart Prison 


"Trauma not transformed is trauma transferred."

— Ashley Judd

What: Healing Trauma program launch
Where: MTC Lockhart Correctional Facility for Women, Lockhart, Texas
Launch period: July 2017 to January 2018
Desired outcome: During the launch period, we aim to graduate more than 100 women to maximize the program's exposure on the unit. We also will train volunteer Healing Trauma facilitators during the launch, so that Healing Trauma classes can continue operating beyond the initial launch.  
Program director: Katie Ford
Program operating under: American Youthworks
Fundraising goal: $33,200
As of Oct. 31, 2017: FULLY FUNDED

  • $260 classroom supplies
  • $940 Healing Trauma professional training
  • $3,650 administrative support
  • $28,350 program director's fee for facilitating six months of semiweekly classes, recruiting and mentoring facilitators, and tracking program results.  

About the Healing Trauma Launch

With the warden’s support, Katie Ford is implementing an evidence-based intervention program called Healing Trauma at MTC Lockhart Correctional Facility for Women. Proven to reduce symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder among women in correctional settings, this course uses cognitive behavioral therapy, expressive arts, body-focused exercises, mindfulness and relational therapy to help women understand the biological impact of trauma — how it affects the mind (thoughts and behaviors) and the body (physical ailments and disease) if left unaddressed.

Participants are given hope by learning there are ways to disrupt the neural pathways carved by past traumatic events. They learn self-soothing and self-regulating techniques to calm the central nervous system and build emotional resiliency. These skills empower women to respond to triggering moments in ways that are not harmful to themselves (addiction) or others (violent outbursts).

They also explore power and abuse in relationships, personal boundaries, and characteristics of healthy versus unhealthy relationships.

Why Is This Work Important?

Healing Trauma will be the FIRST and ONLY program of its kind at Lockhart Correctional, and there is need for it. Incarcerated women have experienced high rates of trauma: 87% have experienced interpersonal violence and 75% have histories of childhood sexual or physical abuse. (Wolff et al. 2011) Also, incarcerated women have experienced an average six traumatic events in her lifetime, whereas a typical woman in the community has experienced an average of two. (Grella, Lovinger and Warda, 2013) 

Many women fall prey to addiction and develop behaviors that are harmful to themselves and others in response to the unaddressed trauma in their lives. Seven in 10 incarcerated women are mothers, so the cycle of trauma,  abuse and addiction continues with their children if left unaddressed

How You Can Help

You can ensure that Healing Trauma classes become a regular part of programming at Lockhart Correctional by financially supporting its successful implementation.

American Youthworks (AYW) is serving as the fiscal sponsor, which means we can solicit tax-deductible donations and apply for grant money under AYW's nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Please click the button below to visit the American Youthworks' Healing Trauma donation page.

You also can send a check with Healing Trauma Program in the memo line:

American Youthworks
1901 E. Ben White Blvd.
Austin, Texas 78741

Another great way to support this healing work is to share this page with your friends to elevate the call to action. Together, let's break the imprisoning cycle of trauma and abuse!

In deep gratitude,
Katie Ford


Raising awareness in our nation's capital

Women's March on Washington
January 2017