Unconditional Freedom has an organizational mission of providing dignity and resources for liberation to marginalized populations. It is governed by an independent board of directors that includes the former President of Odwalla, Shawn Sugarman, and attorneys Christine Medvec and Jennifer Lewis. This work is done in two primary arenas: Free Food, weekly pop-up meals in Harlem for 500 persons and Ukiah for 50 persons, and the Prison Monastery Program.
The current Prison Monastery Program co-director, Kate Feigin, MSW, has a 17-year history working in the criminal justice system, leaving her role as the Restorative Justice Manager at Mendocino County Jail to join the Unconditional Freedom team, which she viewed as the more likely medium by which to impact criminal justice reform in the U.S. Unconditional Freedom includes 500 certified volunteers and is funded by over 250 individuals and foundations. We have a diverse group of individuals from all walks of life that are collaborating on our programs and contributing to the communities we serve.
The level 1 Prison Monastery curriculum, The Art of Soulmaking (AoS), was co-written by Nicole Daedone and renowned publisher Beth Wareham who published Temple Grandin’s Animals in Translation. The book includes contributions from Soto Zen meditation instructor Margot Koch and yoga instructor Marla Moffet and is focused entirely on contemplative practices for a carceral setting. AoS is available online for anyone to read and free to anyone that requests in prisons.
AoS is the foundation for all programs offered in the prisons Unconditional Freedom operates in, offering the incarcerated residents tools to get free from the locks we build in our psyches. The Prison Monastery Program addresses the entire human ecology of the prison environment, and includes transformative programs and support for both the residents and correctional officers. The model introduces regenerative farms to the prison to provide healthy, organic food, and the corrections deputies are as much a part of the healing community as the inmate population, which we believe to be essential.
Author Nicole Daedone is a controversial figure, as often is the case with people breaking new ground outside the cultural mainstream. As George Bernard Shaw wrote, “The reasonable person adapts themselves to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to themselves. Therefore all progress depends on unreasonable people.” Nicole founded the company OneTaste in 2008 for the purpose of improving human intimacy, flourishing, and women’s empowerment, in large part by promoting a scientifically backed practice called Orgasmic Meditation.
There have been incredibly misleading and damaging insinuations in the press that Unconditional Freedom, therefore, teaches OM in prison because of its connection to Nicole. California Department of Corrections suspended Unconditional Freedom’s program at the Central California Women’s Facility upon hearing of a justice department indictment of Nicole in June 2023 for forced labor conspiracy as part of her involvement in OneTaste 2004-2017.
To clarify, this has nothing to do with the work that Unconditional Freedom does. Unconditional Freedom is a 501c3, its own organization, and its quality of programming, work, and ethics have never been in question. The programs are available to read online, and the impact we’ve had on the communities we serve speaks for themselves. Nicole is and has always been, an unpaid volunteer with Unconditional Freedom, offering up to three hours per week of advice to the team. She has never been inside any of the facilities we instruct at and is one of many volunteers, teachers, employees, and advisors that make up this grassroots organization.
Unconditional Freedom and the Prison Monastery Program are continuing to expand and grow because the system works and the high quality of people that operate our programs. We are currently working with CDCR to lift the temporary suspension of the program and looking for facilities to work with in other states, to join the other 300 facilities in 25 states that Art of Soulmaking and our other programs are in.
Read Executive Director Marcus Ratnathicam’s email to CDCR in response to the suspension. If you would like to learn more about the organization please contact email@example.com