"For to be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."
What is freedom and where can it be found? At Interfaith Prison Ministry (IPMW), we have the privilege of walking alongside women who are saying “yes” to claiming freedom ... now. Freedom that transcends prison. Freedom that all too often has been lost outside its walls and therefore is all the more precious, once found.
It is the choice that we all face at times in our lives…the choice to break free from the past situations, beliefs and expectations that have bound us so that we can be free to learn from and atone for past mistakes, forgive ourselves and others and create new and vibrant futures…and pay it forward to others through leadership and service.
Last Spring, IPMW featured a new series entitled Free Woman. We invite you to peruse the entire campaign by clicking on a story link below and celebrate freedom with inspiring women, as well as learn more about the issues of incarceration and reentry. We also hope that you will consider deepening your engagement with IPMW’s chaplaincy services, transition education, reentry support and community outreach and training programs. It is only through your generous donations of time, talent and treasure that we are able to continue supporting women who are working hard to be free from prison, once and for all.
We look forward to taking this journey with you. In the meantime, we hope that you will stop for a moment – right now – and consider what it means to be free.
Read the Stories ...
(each week until July 4th, new stories will be added)
Week 1: Lu's Story
I like freedom, and I wear it well! I don’t think that freedom really hit me until I was out the prison doors. Read more.
Week 4: Sexual Assault
April is Sexual Assault Awareness month, bringing light to a painful and life-altering issue that many women in prison have faced. Read more.
Week 7: Michelle's Story
The first time I felt free was the night I got arrested. I felt like I had been rescued, like a burden had been lifted, because I knew that it was the last time I was going to get high. Read more.
Week 10: Jean's Story
Have you ever been so desperate for love ... to have somebody love you ... that you would be willing to do the unspeakable, to take something from somebody that only God has a right to take? Read more.
Week 13: Kim's Story
My definition of freedom has evolved over time. Behind the fence, my perception of freedom was more or less tied to the physical transition. I believed that anywhere on the other side would be freedom. Read more.
Week 2: Lent 2019
The Christian season of Lent is historically a time of fasting and prayer — removing some things from our lives and taking on new, life-giving practices. Read more.
Week 5: Vestal's Story
One day I realized I had enough. I was lonely, depressed, in an unhealthy marriage and living in addiciton.. Read more.
Week 8: Mental Health
For nearly a century, state psychiatric hospitals were the primary institutions for treating people with mental health problems. Read more.
Week 11: Teresa's Story
Five years ago, if you would've asked me what freedom means to me, I would've said staying out of prison. At that time, I didn't realize freedom was spiritual. Read more.
Week 14: Beyond the Walls
Freedom is no respecter of identity. It can be claimed or reclaimed within the walls of prison just as it can be lost outside. I do this work because my liberation is bound up in the liberation of others... Read more.
Week 3: Deb's Story
My journey to true freedom began in 2011 when I arrived at the Raleigh Unit of North Carolina Correctional Institution for Women. Read more.
Week 6: Mother's Day
Mother's Day highlights the pain an incarcerated mother feels from being separated from her children ... Read more.
Week 9: Kaye's Story
Kaye Ward Heroux asked the deacons from her church to come together in an emergency meeting. Silence fell over the room. Read more.
Week 12: Doris' Story
My freedom was discovered on February 23, 1981 when I was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole. I was a high school dropout, a rebellious teenager who made a bad decision ... Read more.