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Releasing hope—Women’s stories of transition from prison to community

Lynn Fels, Mo Korchinski, Ruth Elwood Martin


This article embodies two key narratives among many that have emerged from a 14-year research project. The first narrative is of a community-engaged solution, a peer health mentor program, which was imagined during a prison participatory health and university research project, as described in Arresting Hope. The second is the narrative of Releasing Hope, a collection of writings by women with incarceration experience sharing their experiences, their challenges, and the barriers they face as they seek to heal from fractured and interrupted lives. A unique form of collaboration, innovation, research creation, and knowledge dissemination, Releasing Hope invites readers to reconsider communal perceptions, attitudes, and resistance towards those with incarceration experience, who struggle each day to be seen, not as former criminals, but as women capable of reimagining and enacting new lives. These two narratives illustrate the possibilities present when women are empowered with voice and agency. In the article, we aim to capture the spirit of both projects, in the interspersing of text and image, a collage of voices that speak to the experiences and learning that emerged through these
two research ventures.


Peer health mentor; participatory health research; narrative

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ISSN: 2371-4298 (Online)