"Anyone interested in women imprisoned or the value of participatory action research will find this book inspiring. Incarcerated women speak clearly and movingly of the challenges in their lives, and the value of the meaningful opportunities they were given to help themselves and others move beyond addictions, grief, and loss, to reflection, forgiveness, and productive lives. They share with us, the reader, their connection to their families and children and ultimately offer insight into the remarkable sameness we share as human beings and how we find meaning in our lives. Nine-in-ten women in Canada who go to jail do so for less than six months. Anyone reading this book can surely not help but reflect on how meaningful change came about for these women--in the community, engaged with others--actively addressing the problems in their lives. Releasing Hope illustrates the value of giving individuals the opportunity to have control over the determinants of their health and ultimately their lives."
--Shawn Bayes, Executive Director, Elizabeth Fry Society of the Greater Vancouver
"The book addresses the difficult journeys women face when released from prison and shows that in our current society, sentences do not stop upon release. The women's stories illustrate this in a sometimes shocking and sad, sometimes encouraging and hopeful, but always very open and honest way. It gives us a true insight into the lives of women released from prison. Great initiatives have been started to help women return to their life in the community in a way in which they can thrive and do well. Participatory health research as well as peer health mentoring are of great value in the period after release and should be conducted on a much broader scale across the world. I highly recommend reading this book to gain a deeper understanding of the reality women face upon their release from prison and of the ways in which we all have an important role in helping them on their journey to freedom."
--Brenda van den Bergh, Health Department, DIGNITY Danish Institute against Torture, Denmark
"No one sets out for a life of social exclusion, stigma, shame, or incarceration. The generous sharing of and learnings from these deeply impactful stories compiled by the editors are testimonials to the determination and courage of these women. They clearly express what women need to thrive outside the prison gates and the content will be of enormous value to policy makers, clinicians, system planners, and leaders. As health care providers, we are called to eliminate suffering and restore people to wholeness. The peer health mentors featured in these stories set a standard for everyone that cares about restoring the dignity of the whole person. We are compelled to act by their rich example of Cultural Safety and Humility in action. As a provider of health services to people in BC provincial corrections facilities, we will proudly use this book and the first, Arresting Hope, to guide our policy development, programming, and service delivery, and celebrate the team responsible for the research and their continued efforts to advocate for this population. Releasing Hope is a must read for people that need or want their heart stirred, their mind stimulated, and their soul refreshed. In these stories, you will see and hear very courageous women and perhaps think of many like them who can change their lives when empathy, trust, compassion, care, and companionship are a clear and present feature. The simple truth of it all is where there is love there is healing, where there is healing there is strength to face the challenges ahead and to sustain hope for tomorrow."
--Carl Roy, President and CEO, British Columbia Provincial Health Services Authority
"Releasing Hope gives amazing glimpses of anguish and triumph--of women released from prison--one who makes it after thirty years of addiction. Journal entries and poems are interspersed with observations from the physician who treated the women in prison and now guides a novel "Participatory Research" project with former inmates as co-editors and authors. They can write! Some have moved on to degrees and decent jobs. The social scientist in me asks, can this program be tried in other places?"
--Lynn McDonald, professor emerita, University of Guelph, published author in criminology, and co-founder of the Campaign for the Abolition of Solitary Confinement