Turning Prisons
into Monasteries

The Prison Monastery

Our most radical concept is to restore the penitentiary to its roots; a place to contemplate and meaningfully contribute to society while incarcerated, in the process transforming shame into contribution.

There are now more than 70 graduates from our Art of Soulmaking program.

Art of Soulmaking program launched an online certification process for our new letter-writing volunteers. Sign up here.

Mendocino County Jail kicks off its ecological restoration project, providing both education in native trees and tree starters, as well as supplying much needed native plant starts to the state of California.

Ecologist John Liu came to Mendocino County Jail as a guest speaker for incarcerated participants in our Prison Earth Project.

We have started to serve our Free Food meals to residents at Live Oak Apartments, a transitional home in Ukiah where most residents are food-insecure. They look forward to Friday meals every week.

Free Food Harlem is now serving 300 people a week, with a rotation of chefs from Harlem cooking meals at the church before dining service every Friday evening.

Soulmaker group facilitators at Central California Women’s Facility are designing 12-week curriculum based on new version of Art of Soulmaking that’s been expanded to 26 weeks.

Free Food has served over 8,000 meals this year, many of them sit down meals in Harlem, NY and Ukiah, CA.

Art of Soulmaking is now live in more than 85 prisons across the United States.

Free Food Philo hosted our first sit down meal in Philo at The Company Kitchen to a large turnout of people in Anderson Valley, CA. Three other local restaurants have since offered to host future community meals!

Free Food Ukiah brings food every week to the kids at Juvenile Hall who contribute their garden produce to the meals. The kids get to taste the produce they’ve grown and experience home cooked meals.

Janelle Weaver, Executive Chef from the Bewildered Pig in Mendocino County, collaborated with Free Food Philo for an Easter meal to serve to those in need in Anderson Valley, as well as homeless in Ukiah

Love to Table has served over 4,000 meals, many of which were offered at our pop-up restaurant spaces in Harlem, NY and Ukiah, CA

Read a short account written by Angelica, daughter of Tami who is serving life without parole, whose mother-daughter relationship has healed through The Art of Soulmaking program

An Alabama state death row unit is getting ready to launch it’s second in-person Art of Soulmaking group, supervised by a Clinical Psychologist

prisons to their purpose;

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  1. HEALING: Soul-restoration through working the earth
  2. CONNECTION: Food as a love delivery system
  3. LIBERATION: Reclaiming power based in responsibility
  4. SOCIAL JUSTICE: Consciousness through contribution

Collectively, these form our human ecology.


Prison residents could be leaders in restoring soil fertility and creating carbon-negative farmland, critical skills in the 2030 initiative to reduce greenhouse gas.


The prison diet consists largely
of corn syrup, sugar and
carbohydrates. These foods
are also prevalent in
impoverished communities.

This contributes to the
significantly higher rates of
heart-related health issues.


Residents need the space to
carve out their own freedom.

We provide frameworks,
contemplative practices and
healing processes adapted
specifically for people in
prison, many of whom struggle
with issues around addiction,
mental illness, and race.


Residents who have in-prison
job training have reduced rates
of recidivism. The higher the
wages people in prison can earn
after release, the lower the rate
of recidivism.

Through meaningful contribution,
people in prison reduce shame
and guilt and restore dignity.

Attracting the top talent in various domains from
cooking to ecosystem restoration to education to teach in
prisons for free and record for public consumption

Learn More

The Art
of Soulmaking

“Art of Soulmaking is a way or a tool for people to use to do
some of that inner work they need to do.”

- Kate Feigin, Restorative Justice
Manager at Mendocino County Jail

One Day at a Time

"This is hard for me, some of the questions bring thoughts and memories that even go far beyond the question. But I also feel it is good for me... and I do a little then I meditate and stretch some. I’m able to hear my inner voice and not just shut it down or close it out. Thank you for this project. I’m especially thankful for it at this time and point in my time and life.”
Tami Jade
Art of Soulmaking student

Learn more about The Art of Soulmaking

The Art of Soulmaking (AOS) workbook teaches contemplative practices, along with meditation and yoga. The purpose of the book is to guide one towards discovering their unique genius. Every incarcerated student or Soulmaker is paired with a volunteer like you to correspond by mail as you both journey through the book and exercises.

Forgiving Yourself

"When you take all the exercises of the soulmaking and put them all together you learn how to love yourself and forgive yourself."
Art of Soulmaking Student

Working with Pain

"I believe this course really opened up my eyes to a lot of pain I was running from. This course really allowed me to confront some of my ways of thinking that were keeping me locked in constant battle with myself. I was not beacon of light I know I can be. I've faced a lot of my demons throughout this course, I won't say it was easy, but I can say it was worth it."
Art of Soulmaking Student

Free in My Cell

"As I complete week 7 of “The Art of Soulmaking” I feel like a better version of myself. I have struggled to be vulnerable... but felt that this was different... I live in a cell but feel more free as a result of the daily meditation and yoga because I can be “free in my mind.”"
Art of Soulmaking Student
Learn More

“Having been able to experience that [Soulmaking] with my mom….We were able to converse about the things that she learns and she does in there, and I try to incorporate it in my life out here. It’s truly just a blessing to be able to do that with her. Because it’s made her happier. Overall, it’s made me a lot happier.”

Angelica, daughter of a woman serving life without possibility of parole sentence and Art of Soulmaking facilitator

From Guards
to Guardians

Guards to Guardians helps COs re-envision their lives and
their work and connect more deeply with the nobility of their
calling. Seekers will find recognition, insights,
encouragement, and reflections to help embrace and embody
the role of the guardian, and thus to enrich not only their
work but their life as a whole.

For those who believe in redemption, there is no nobler role
than that of a Corrections Officer. Join the Program Online.

Guards to Guardian Book

"COs venture into spaces most of us dare not tread, to do a job most of us could not do. They see things most of us could not imagine, and endure experiences that would break the rest of us into pieces...Yet in reality, in spite of all this—and in fact because of this—there exists the potential for something different...For a way for COs to do their work in a way that’s more meaningful and more impactful, for themselves and the rest of the world."
Guards to Guardian Book
publishing March 2022

Brian Dawe, MCI Norfolk Prison

"I mean there are still certain things that I don't like about myself that I know I can see I am reacting in a way I don't want to react. My god when I was younger I told my daughter one day to go to her cell."


Keith Hellwig

"I’d be fighting with someone, maybe using pepper spray, and a half hour later I’d be sitting at the dinner table with my family. There was no transition time. It affected me and my family. There were times when I had to remember that my kids weren’t inmates."


Anthony Gangi

“I believe this is a noble profession. I believe what we do is a public service that is rarely recognized. One of my goals is to remind people that we are true professionals and deserving of self-worth. I'm tired of people bashing what I do, because it is a piece of who I am, a part of me."

Learn More

Get Involved

Get Involved

UFP Volunteers

Unconditional Freedom Project Volunteer Letter Writers are at the forefront of our work to advance our mission of turning Prisons into Monestaries and changing the lives of millions of people. These efforts serve to provide thousands of prisoners with a way to thoughtfully connect with the outside world and support them on their path to healing and self inquiry.

Turning Prisons into Monasteries