Open Hearts Open Minds’ mission is to nurture inner transformation through dialogue, silence, education and the arts, in order to promote peace, love and understanding.

What does Open Hearts Open Minds do?

  • Work at Two Rivers Correctional Institution in Umatilla, OR
    • Weekly dialogue group for up to 20 inmates
    • Annual plays by inmates: Shakespeare and Twelve Angry Men
    • Facilitation of visitors: musicians, storytellers, Shakespeare performances, drama therapist and filmmaker
  • Work at Columbia River Correctional Institution, Portland, OR
    • Weekly prison arts program for up to 30 inmates
    • Facilitation of visitors: musicians, storytellers, creative writing
    • Special performances by inmates
  • Work at Coffee Creek Correctional Facility (women’s prison), Wilsonville, OR
    • Weekly theater arts program for up to 18 inmates
    • Facilitation of visitors: musicians, storytellers, creative writing
    • Special performances by inmates
  • Home for Good In Oregon (HGO): OHOM actively supports inmates in their transition and re-entry into society
  • Facilitates discussion outside the prison
    • Hosted screening of the documentary “Shakespeare Behind Bars” followed by discussion with Curt Tofteland, founder of Shakespeare Behind Bars
    • Hosted Sherrin Fitzer, administrator of Women & Family Services and founder of the Acting Out Theatre Group at Logan Correctional Center in Lincoln, IL
    • Hosted Ashley Lucas, Director of the Prison Creative Arts Project and Associate Professor, University of Michigan
    • Hosted Lebanese filmmaker Zeina Daccache and screening her two films, Twelve Angry Lebanese and Scheherazade in Baabda
    • Hosted screenings of film clips of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Prison followed by discussion
    • Production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream in Prison. This documentary (in progress) charts the production of the play with inmates of Two Rivers Correctional Institution

How does Open Hearts Open Minds benefit our community?

  • 95% of the men and women in Oregon’s prisons return to our communities.
  • Our dialogue group offers a powerful tool for cognitive, moral and spiritual development.
  • Our plays offer the power of transformation through the arts. Staging a play under any circumstance is challenging, demanding teamwork, creativity and commitment. The performance affirms the inmate’s accomplishments and validates their hard work.
  • The act of meeting prisoners on the inside provides for a balanced view of who is in prison and offers the opportunity for discussion on the outside. What brought these individuals here, how do we as a society deal with this, what is justice and how is it meted out?
  • Providing mentoring and support to prisoners on their re-entry into society eases this most difficult transition
  • Bringing arts to the IRCO community expands our reach to a new population of underserved individuals.

Whom do we serve?

  • Prisoners: providing art and dialogue to an underserved population
  • Our Community: through performances and education
  • Prisoners on Release: assisting in re-entry through HGO
  • Immigrants and Refugees: Connecting artists to an underserved population
  • Our Community: providing support to prisoners on re-entry reduces the chance for recidivism. Our work with IRCO builds community between the immigrants/refugees and the larger Portland community.
  • The Global Community: through our film, we can broaden our reach to the public and bring a window on to a hidden world, our relationship with IRCO builds a deeper understanding for what is going on in other parts of the world.

Mass Incarceration Facts from the ACLU

  • With only 5% of the world’s population, the U.S. has 25% of the world’s prisoners, making us the world’s largest jailer.
  • Since 1970, our prison population has risen 700%.
  • One in 99 adults are living behind bars in the U.S.—the highest rate of imprisonment in American history.
  • One in 31 adults are under some form of correctional control—prison, jail, parole or probation.