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Those who experience the Compassion Trauma Circle and learn about Adverse Childhood Experiences and the symptoms of trauma, feel a sense of relief, self-forgiveness and community support. It has given them awareness about their past and has opened a doorway to new levels of understanding, compassion and healing.

Step Inside the Circle is a call to action: to spread the word about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). 

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It is a call to recognize the physical, emotional and social impact ACEs have wrought upon society and to stress the importance of care (not punishment) going forward in the prison system.

Our second short film, Honor Yard, explores the impact of childhood trauma by examining the symptoms of trauma. We witness some personal sharing by the men living and healing in a prison yard in California.

Let us introduce ourselves

CPP’s mission is to create trauma-informed prisons and communities. Our main focus is on childhood trauma and how it affects the lives of men and women living and working in prisons.

We also recognize the importance of educating communities about childhood trauma.

In our research, using the CDC/Kaiser Permanente ACEs study (Adverse Childhood Experiences), we have seen that ACEs are disproportionately high within the prison system.

At CPP, we are focused on bringing childhood trauma awareness, education and healing to prisons and communities both in the U.S. and globally.

Here’s how we’re making a difference

Here are a few of our ongoing projects designed to bring trauma-awareness and increased human connection to those affected by childhood trauma and incarceration.

Trauma to Transformation
Trauma to Transformation Workshop Compassion Prison Project’s One-Day Trauma-to-Transformation Workshop begins with the Compassion Trauma Circle. Steps are taken into
Logo for Trauma Talks, a video series from CPP
Trauma Talks
Trauma Talks Trauma Talks is a 16-part series designed to educate prison residents about childhood trauma, in hopes they can
Group of men and Fritzi stepping inside the circle with arms around eachother
Compassion Trauma Circle
Similar to the circle seen in our short film Step Inside the Circle, CPP runs Zoom community circles with people
Printed Adverse Childhood Experience survey questions
ACE Awareness Campaign
CPP’s work with prisons and communities is based on the CDC-Kaiser Permanente Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE) study which is one
Four correctional officers standing outside
8-part Correctional Officer Trauma-Responsive Training
The average life expectancy of a correctional officer is 59, the contributing factors being PTSD and trauma.This training focuses on
Man holding up a letter with drawn hearts on it smiling
Letter Writing Campaign
We’ve been told by several prison residents that nothing brightens their day more than hearing their name called during mail
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Fritzi Horstman

Founder and Executive Director


Fritzi Horstman is the Founder and Executive Director of Compassion Prison Project. She is a Grammy-award winning producer for her work on “The Defiant Ones”, has been a producer and post-producer on dozens of television projects and documentaries and has directed several films. She believes it is urgent to bring humanity and compassion to those living behind bars and these acts will help transform our society. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Vassar College.