Episode 42

The Prison Post #42 Fritzi Horstman, Compassion Prison Project, Founder and Executive Director

Published on: 12th January, 2022

Welcome to The Prison Post. My co-host Jason Bryant was on assignment, so I brought in my dear friend, James Willock as my co-host for this special episode. James was incarcerated from the age of 19 to the age of 47 in California's prison system and has now been free for a little over one year.

We are excited to be back and to drop Episode 42 with one of the greatest human beings on this planet, Fritzi Horstman. Fritzi Horstman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Compassion Prison Project (CPP) an organization dedicated to creating trauma-informed prisons and communities and bringing creative inspiration to all men and women living and working in prisons.

With 95% of the incarcerated men and women eventually returning home, Fritzi believes it is imperative that we address the chronic mental health issues in prison with common sense, compassion and urgency. In 2020, Fritzi directed “Step Inside the Circle” at California State Prison – Los Angeles County with 235 incarcerated men. The video has reached nearly 3 million views worldwide and has attracted over 900 volunteers to CPP.  Fritzi and the team at CPP are in production, creating a 12-part series entitled “Trauma Talks” to be distributed to prisons in the US and abroad which launched in September 2021.

Fritzi produced HBO’s “The Defiant Ones” directed by Allen Hughes which has garnered several awards including a Grammy for Best Music Film. Her first feature, “Take A Number,” which she wrote, produced, and directed, debuted at the Slamdance festival and premiered on HBO. Fritzi studied at New York University’s summer film program and received a Bachelor of Arts in Film and English from Vassar College.

CPP's mission is to transform prisons and communities through compassionate action. Their main focus is on childhood trauma and how it affects the lives of men and women living and working in prisons. In our research, using the CDC/Kaiser Permanente ACEs study (Adverse Childhood Experiences), we have seen that ACE's are disproportionately high within the prison system. At CPP, they are focused on bringing childhood trauma awareness, education and healing to prisons and communities both in the U.S. and globally.

Fritzi reached reached out to me and asked if I and members of our team at CROP Organization would be willing to go back into the prison with her for a couple of days to participate in her "Step Inside the Circle" work with the incarcerated and her trauma conversations with officers. We were set to get on a call and she asked me to watch one of her award winning videos first. I watched and called her in tears 7 minutes later which led to over a 2 hour zoom about the addressing trauma and healing in my incarcerated brothers and sisters and within myself. She exudes empathy and compassion as a natural expression of who she is and she's one of those rare people you meet and know your life would never be the same afterwards.

Enjoy the show and please hit the red subscribe and like button so we can continue bringing you this inspirational and informative content. I'll include links to two of her other videos and where you can donate to her organization below.

Step Inside the Circle: https://youtu.be/FVxjuTkWQiE

Honor Yard: https://youtu.be/Xo_RUSuk4s8

Donate to Compassion Prison Project here: https://compassionprisonproject.org/

Please subscribe to our podcast and follow us here on our linktree: https://linktr.ee/CROPOrganization

Our Linktree will take you to all the places you can find us on social media for fresh insights into who we are and what we're doing to reimagine reentry at CROP Organization.

Please donate to us at https://www.croporganization.org/ or text CROP at 91999 and donate to our work of transforming lives and healing communities.

You can take the Adverse Childhood Experiences Test and learn more about how childhood trauma may have affected you: https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2015/03/02/387007941/take-the-ace-quiz-and-learn-what-it-does-and-doesnt-mean

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About the Podcast

The Prison Post
Transforming Lives and Healing Communities by Reimagining Reentry
The Prison Post is a podcast interviewing leaders in the criminal justice reform, restorative justice, and social justice movements. In addition, we share the transformational stories of the currently and formerly incarcerated and highlight what CROP Organization is doing by reimagining reentry for returning citizens.
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About your host

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Richard Mireles

With a Bachelor of Arts in Healthcare Management from California Coast University, Richard is a dynamic public speaker and expert communicator with Advanced Leadership and Communication certifications with the world recognized Toastmasters International. Having spent over 21 years inside of CDCR, Richard made abundant contributions as a cofounder of the Inside Solutions think-tank and lead intern for the CROP Organization’s programs offered within institutions. An inspiring leader and powerful orator with over 35 transformational coaching seminars and workshops, Richard possesses the uncanny ability to capture a room's attention while conveying impactful messages to any audience. He has an advanced certification as an Alcohol and Other Drug counselor (receiving a certificate of recognition from the California State Senate for his contributions to the recovery community) and was the only known incarcerated person to earn the status of associate trainer for John Maxwell’s EQUIP Leadership and its Million Leader Mandate.