The Art of Soulmaking Course

Restoring Dignity Among Prison Residents

We seek to restore the penitentiary to the spirit of its original intent — to create an environment where a person would contemplate the nature of their actions and come to the conclusion that they desired change. We want to create the penitentiary as a place to contemplate.

We want to reform the idea that you could ever lock someone up and throw away the key, that punishment ever created sustainable change, that justice equals dehumanization, that there is a clear line between us outside of prison and them behind bars.

These women are so strong. Reminds you what it means to be human. There is something that pulls out my own strength about what it means to be alive.

— Rachael, Art of Soulmaking Volunteer Correspondent

Components of the Course

Our Art of Soulmaking Course offers an inner journey of healing and establishes a foundation for growth for people in custody. This course is designed to thrive within the existing prison regimen keeping its structures and schedule intact. It is adapted for COVID 19 protocols, making it safe to offer within the time of the pandemic. See below for a description of each part of the course. You can download the book here.

1. An 8-week course that guides a person through a journey of inquiry and healing. The course begins with setting up for contemplative practice of journaling, soul searching exercises, yoga and meditation. After setting this foundation, participants walk through four chapters on healing and restoring dignity. Course participants are guided by a certified Art of Soulmaking volunteer correspondent.

2. A Monastic Life Video Library with lectures from world-class experts, offering instruction in mind-body techniques, healthy eating and creativity. This library features titles from renowned teachers in all subject areas.

3. Fellowship and guidance from graduates of the course, who can elect to provide structured support to new prison resident practitioners. In this way, graduates reintegrate their learnings and forming positive new associations based on their own growth and experience.

Correctional Officer Program

We honor the correctional officers for the courageous service they offer in the prison system. A prison cannot transform to a monastery without providing aid to the corrections officer. Read more about the Corrections Officer Program.

Volunteer Correspondents

As is true with all Unconditional Freedom volunteers, our volunteer correspondents gain as much from the experience as the participants they are writing with. Volunteers watch a video series where they are guided through the Art of Soulmaking workbook and the letter writing process. They are trained in how to share vulnerably in their writing, opening the channels for an intimate dialogue with a prison resident as a foundation for healing and change. Once a month, volunteers get together on a live Zoom call to share about their letter writing experiences. 

The voice from my pen pal feels genuine and thoughtful, even more so than most people I know. I was surprised at how warm she felt. I don’t ever get letters like that.

— Jason, Art of Soulmaking Volunteer Correspondent

Get Involved


Sign up to become a certified Art of Soulmaking correspondent who can guide prison residents through their course. Become a volunteer.


Your gift of $45 will sponsor one prison resident to take the Art of Soulmaking course. Make a gift.

Do Yoga

Through our Love to Give Yoga program, your normal course fee will be contributed towards the Unconditional Freedom Project’s programs for prison residents. Find out more.

A sample monthly volunteer newsletter. 

I expected something so different before writing my pen pal — that there would be this hardness she would have to hold. What I found is every letter I’ve received has been incredibly soft.

— Maya, Art of Soulmaking Volunteer Correspondent