Our Mission

We create trauma-informed prisons and communities. We do this through trauma-awareness education and programming.

This includes:

  • Participation in our 2-day Trauma to Transformation in-person event which brings compassion, joy, education and inspiration to those living in prison.
  • All residents watching our 12-part video series Trauma Talks, designed to educate about; the effects and symptoms of childhood trauma, ways to heal from the past and ways to see themselves and others in a new light. It allows people who have experienced trauma to understand what drives their actions and behaviors.
  • Gathering in circles of 10-12 participants to discuss what they’ve learned from Trauma Talks. These peer-led conversations have proven to have a powerful healing influence, teaching the residents how to support one another, learn prosocial behavior and benefit from the power of community.
  • Interactive engagement with the accompanying Trauma Talks workbooks. These workbooks solidify the material, continuing to educate and promote inquiry by providing exercises and healing modalities to soothe body and mind.
  • A Compassionate Corrections presentation for correctional officers and staff, to educate them about the behavioral impacts of childhood trauma and Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).

It is our belief that when each of us heals our own trauma, we’re doing our part to heal the world. So let the healing begin, for everyone, everywhere, especially for the most traumatized people in our society, those living in prison.

Our Vision

All prisons are transformed  from punitive human warehouses into rehabilitative environments.

We can break the cycle by educating about childhood trauma and teach ways to heal from it; for those who are incarcerated, their communities and their future generations.

We envision a world where…

  • All prisons become centers for healing, education and transformation
  • All people, including prison residents and staff, are ACE aware and trauma-informed
  • All people, including prison residents and staff, have a basic understanding of what trauma does to the brain, body and spirit and understand that aggressive or violent behavior is the result of traumatic events from the past
  • All returning citizens are supported as they transition from prison back into their communities, creating a reduction in recidivism
  • Mass incarceration ends
  • All people heal from personal and collective trauma
  • Everyone adheres to the principles of nonviolence
  • Everyone gives back

We heal in community.

Our extensive volunteer pool is available to go into prisons to support our peer-to-peer programming. They come with compassion, new modalities and exercises which allows those living in prison to begin the healing process and learn how to regulate their systems. Our volunteers participate so that the incarcerated men and women know that they matter, they are part of us and that they have not been forgotten.

Our Core Values

CPP adheres to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations (SAMHSA’s) Trauma-Informed Principles:


  • Promote trauma awareness and understanding
  • Recognize that trauma-related symptoms and behaviors originate from adapting to traumatic responses
  • View trauma in the context of individuals’ environments
  • Minimize the risk of re-traumatization or replicating prior trauma dynamics
  • Create a safe environment
  • Identify recovery from trauma as a primary goal
  • Support control, choice, and autonomy
  • Create collaborative relationships and participation opportunities
  • Familiarize clients with trauma-informed services
  • Conduct universal routine trauma screening
  • View trauma through a sociocultural lens
  • Use a strengths-focused perspective to promote resilience
  • Foster trauma-resistant skills
  • Show organizational and administrative commitment to trauma informed care
  • Develop strategies to address secondary trauma and promote self-care
  • Provide hope and believe recovery is possible

We stand for

Graphic of the word CHANGE which represents Compassion Prison Project's core values


We lead with Compassion in everything we do. There is no shame.


We recognize the Humanity in all people and act towards the greater good.


We hold ourselves Accountable and empower others to thrive within their community.


We adhere to the principles of Nonviolence and Nonviolent communication.


We continuously find ways to give back Generously to our communities. It is at the heart of everything we do.


We acknowledge that everyone's experience matters.

to top

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.

Mission, Vision and Core Values