Fritzi Horstman on Healing Trauma and Transforming Prisons Into Healing Centres


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“Service is alchemy, when you stop thinking about yourself and you look at what else is going on, there’s a major shift that happens.”

In this episode I connect with Fritzi Horstman, a Grammy award winning producer and Founder of The Compassion Prison Project.

We talk about how Fritzi’s life changed when she received an invitation to visit a prison, leading her to transition from working in the film industry to prisons.

It was Fritzi’s own childhood trauma which helped shape the conception of The Compassion Prison Project, which is a central theme within our podcast where we explore how the biggest challenges we experience within our lives are guiding us to embracing our highest potential.

Over the course of several months in 2019-2020, Fritzi and a dedicated team of facilitators and volunteers partnered with the men who were incarcerated at a Kern Valley State Prison (KVSP), a maximum-security prison in Southern California.

Together, they created powerful tools for addressing and healing from childhood trauma.

“My vision is that all prisons in the United States will become healing centres, and I wake up every morning thinking how I can make that happen.”

During 2019, the men at KVSP and CPP explored mindfulness, meditation and the power of intention.

Understanding the shame that comes with the dehumanization of child abuse and being incarcerated, the men found ways to make amends to themselves, the people they’ve harmed and their community.

They learned what it means to have deeper compassion and belonging through recognizing our shared humanity.

Fritzi and i delve deep into how healing her own trauma opened the door to her developing the drive to bring this awareness to the men and women living in prisons.

This is a powerful conversation which is both deeply vulnerable and loving, carried forth by a front-line warrior who is embodying what it means to truly be love.

"If you study prison populations as I have, you see a common preponderance of childhood trauma and mental illness. The two go together.

So a lot of the people are being punished for being mentally ill and they are mentally ill because they were traumatized as kids. So what we have in prisons are the most traumatized people in our society." - Dr. Gabor Mate.

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