10th Annual International Prisoners Family Conference
This year’s conference was held in Dallas, Texas, October 10-12, 2018. Carolyn Esparza has been leading the way and bringing people together at every one of these conferences for the past 10 years! Her insight to the affects of incarceration on families and communities has enabled her to bring important information and informative speakers to the conference so that everyone can learn, meet other great people, and leave with things they can do in their community.
This year’s conference brought many new people together and continues the theme of this year’s conference to close the empathy gap. In this interview, Carolyn brings more insight into this year’s conference, the fascinating key-note speakers and amazing attendees!
To learn more about the conference visit their website at: International Prisoners Family Conference website.
Prison: The Hidden Sentence™ founder, Julia Lazareck, had the honor of kicking-off the 10th Annual International Prisoners Family Conference, with founder, Carolyn Esparza. The theme of this year’s conference was “Closing the Empathy Gap”. There are so many good people, doing wonderful things, to close the empathy gap and the purpose of the conference was to share information and tools and to create a safe and fun environment to network. One of the goals is to continue creating awareness so that more people understand the affects and impact of having a loved one in the prison system so that we can close the empathy gap.
The concept of closing the empathy gap is difficult to grasp for some people. How could we have people “walk in our shoes” and understand what we’re going through if they’ve never been through anything like this? Julia spent several months talking to people about empathy and provided ways to close the empathy gap in her presentation.
About This Year’s Conference
There were several key-note and mini-key-note speakers the first day and a couple of breakout sessions. The information that was disseminated and shared was truly inspiring and educational. Attendees knew the statistics, so that wasn’t discussed as much as much as people’s experiences and what they are doing about their situations and to help others.
We will follow-up with interview posts and information about the groups and speakers and encourage you to visit each site and see if there is anything that inspires you. Everyone agreed that collaboration among the groups is key to creating change in the prison system. With a united voice we can help those going through the trauma of having a loved one in the prison system. With a united voice we can affect change in the prison system. With a united voice we can ensure that in-person visits continue. With a united voice we can rid the inhumane long sentences of solitary confinement. With a united voice we can keep the prison family together and reduce recidivism.
We had several discussions during the conference and one of the take-aways was that was that it would be helpful to speak to our representatives/legislatures. Remember, even if you haven’t felt confident enough to talk to your representatives in the past, you probably know more than some of them because of your experiences with the prison system. Many representatives have probably never visited a prison and don’t know the rules and tribulations that we’ve experienced dealing with the prison system. By talking to them and educating them, we can open doors to positive change.
Throughout the conference poetry about the affects of incarceration were provided by Nicole Richardson. Learn more about and listen to her poetry here.
Dawn Freeman from Securus Foundation was very candid about her background and how she formed the non-profit foundation.
Lauren van der Hoeven from Families Outside provided insights into prison system in Scotland.
David Rothenberg, founder of The Fortune Society that’s been providing re-entry support for over 50 years!
- Alameda County Children of Incarcerated Parents Partnership
- ATLaS Justice Center
- Families Outside, Scotland
- The Fortune Society, NY
- InterNational Prisoners Family Conference
- Prison Families Anonymous
- Prison: The Hidden Sentence™
- The RIDGE Project, Inc.
- The Securus Foundation
- Strong Prison Wives & Families
Stay tuned for posting of the conference interviews. We’ll also be posting information about next year’s conference as soon as it’s available so you can mark your calendars. To listen to interviews from the 2017 conference click here.
WE JUST RECEIVED DATES FOR NEXT YEAR’S CONFERENCE: