Dawson Hope


Collaboration with HOPE Literacy at Dawson State Jail

In late 2005, Resolana began working at Dawson State Jail in downtown Dallas in collaboration with HOPE Literacy. HOPE Literacy had established a successful peer tutoring program in a dedicated dorm of 54 women at Dawson, and was in the process of expanding its faith based program to a second dorm. HOPE invited Resolana to develop and implement secular classes and workshops for HOPE participants.

In February, 2006, Resolana facilitated an 8-week Pilot class, called My Story, My Self, (which received rave reviews from participants!). Then Resolana began developing additional classes, based on feedback from the Pilot class and data from a survey of the HOPE women.

“Because I heared that it was a good class that yal real care + helped weman. Get their lives back”
— one woman’s explanation as to why she wanted to join a Resolana class

By the fall of 2006, a variety of workshops and seven different classes had been implemented with the help of enthusiastic volunteers and community partners. The classes were:

  • Short Timing (addressing Reentry concerns)
  • Financial Literacy
  • Emotional Literacy
  • Anger Management
  • Empowerment/16 Step Recovery
  • Parenting
  • Survivors of Incest and Sexual Abuse

The latter two classes were taught by professional therapists. Although the classes involved a variety of objectives, formats and sizes, all consistently validated the effectiveness of a holistic multi-modal approach, integrating creative and spiritual, therapeutic and pragmatic elements.

“I so appreciate what you and the volunteers did. . . . I believe these classes are very beneficial to the inmates. I know you have impacted a lot of women’s lives and opened the doors of opportunity for many.”Debra, writing after her 09/06 release.

By fall, 72 women had taken one or more Resolana classes and even more women had participated in a variety of other events and workshops. Waiting lists for future classes were overflowing. As an increasing number signed up for multiple classes, a Peer Assistant Leadership (PALs) program was developed in which class veterans took on support roles during class and served as resources for other participants in their dorms.

Resolana was also instrumental in the appointment of a special CPS liaison to Dawson State Jail to help inmates stay abreast of legal proceedings and custody issues involving their children.

“What kind of birds can’t fly?    Jail Birds!!!   (But with people like y’all that bring TEACHING we can all fly!!)
Thank you so much!”
Shannon, released 12/06, in her Christmas letter

Unfortunately, Resolana‘s collaboration with HOPE Literacy proved untenable over the long term because of theological differences. (Resolana is a secular organization committed to encouraging spiritual growth without requiring religious conformity.)

Happily, however, Resolana was invited to return to another women’s floor at Dawson State Jail and to continue its work as an independent program.


  pictures by Hope Literacy

At the same time, Resolana‘s story took a turn in several new directions . . . .

See Independent Program at Dawson, Early Program at Dallas County Jail, or reentry.


Resolana  –  PO Box #225175  –  Dallas, Texas 75222  –  USA.   Email: contact@resolana.info

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