FEPPS collaborates directly with the Women’s Village, an organization formed by women inside the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW).
The Village has grown from five members to over 200 women at the prison.
In that time, violent incidents inside WCCW have dramatically decreased.
In 2008, Rob Walker, a mental health specialist and psychologist, Traci Matheson, and other women inside WCCW started discussing what it would mean for women in WCCW to live in a village where they worked to improve their lives while incarcerated. The Village was organized so women could create positive change in their own lives by “harnessing the unique strengths of women and promoting a positive environment in our current community.”
The Women’s Village provides services and programs to address education, self-empowerment, life skills, health and wellness, self-care and disease prevention. FEPPS promotes women’s leadership within the prison through an Education Advisory Council of prisoners who meet monthly with FEPPS about program development.
Women from the Village invited professors to the prison to talk about how to build a higher education program in 2011. Since then, FEPPS has offered 70 classes taught by over 85 professors to 252 women.