May 20th

What Is SPWF Invisible Shackles? Explainer Video

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

Find out how to get our forgotten voices heard by participating in the Strong Prison Wives & Families Invisible Shackles campaign. Watch the video and then post your struggles here and/or on our social media pages using the hashtag #invisibleshackles

What is the SPWF #Invisible Shackles Campaign? Explainer Video. from Strong Prison Wives on Vimeo.

May 18th

Shredding The Sessions Memo (FAMM Article)

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President
 
Families Against Mandatory Minimums  
 
 

Dear Ro,

Last Friday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave new marching orders to federal prosecutors across the country instructing them to seek the most serious charges in every drug case. This is a terrible idea — and you and I know why.

When mandatory minimums were first passed in the 1980s, the politicians said that they would be reserved for the most dangerous and high-level offenders. But then we saw what happened. Prosecutors demanded and got mandatory life sentences for people like Evans Ray and 15-year sentences for first-time offenders suffering from addiction like Mandy Martinson. These cases are not exceptions. Overall, 93 percent of individuals who receive mandatory minimum sentences played no leadership role in their offense.

Requiring more low- and mid-level offenders to serve unnecessarily lengthy prison terms will impose a larger burden on taxpayers. Greater still will be the opportunity costs. To hold more low-risk offenders in federal prison, how many fewer murders will go unsolved? How many fewer prosecutors and police will be hired? How many more rape kits will go untested? The tradeoffs required by the attorney general’s directive will make families and communities less safe.

The new charging memo will also have an enormous and negative impact on the families whose loved ones are forced to serve disproportionately lengthy prison sentences. More kids will grow up without a parent, causing a host of economic, educational, and social challenges. Families will struggle to stay together. Economic self-sufficiency will become much more difficult to achieve.

We must fight back. Since Sessions' memo was announced, FAMM has appeared on TV and in the press highlighting the dangers of this failed approach. And in the weeks and months ahead, we plan to:

  • Continue to call for greater oversight of the federal prosecutors who will implement the new charging policy;
  • Expose the danger and stupidity of this new policy by identifying and highlighting cases where mandatory minimums are applied to the wrong people; and
  • Build support for legislation to eliminate mandatory minimums, like the bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act, which was introduced in Congress this week.

Thanks for your continued support.

Best,

Kevin A. Ring
President, FAMM

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1100 H Street NW
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Washington, DC 20005

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Mar 10th

WINNERS!!!! Of Our #SPWFPride Birthday Challenge

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President
#SPWFPride Winners Announced Below!!!!
pride
prīd/
noun

 
  1. 1.
    a feeling or deep pleasure or satisfaction derived from one's own achievements, the achievements of those with whom one is closely associated, or from qualities or possessions that are widely admired.
    "the team was bursting with pride after recording a sensational victory"
    synonyms: pleasurejoydelightgratificationfulfillmentsatisfaction, a sense of achievement
    "take pride in a good job well done"
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  2. 2.
    a group of lions forming a social unit.
 
We really ARE a fierce group of lionesses who have formed a "social unit" in the form of this support group. So, I guess I'm full of pride for my pride. hah! 
 
Seriously though, my heart bubbled over with joy as I saw each photo that was posted during our #SPWFPride birthday challenge. So many beautiful ladies posted pictures of themselves in pink to show their love, support and gratitude for SPWF. 
 
We had our volunteers pick their favorite of all of the photos. Then, I was sent the top five to choose the winner. They were all so uniquely creative and beautiful. I honestly couldn't pick just one. So, what does any good "Ms. Softie McMush" do? Choose ALL FIVE as the winner. Naturally!
 
The top five photos are posted below. Winners, please email strongprisonwives@gmail.com to claim your prize. Let me know which photo was yours and I need your mailing address.
 
Winner #5
SPWFPride - Collage Colorful Shirt
 
Winner #4
SPWF Pride Nandita 
Winner #3
SPWFPride Lisa SPWF Pride Brick // " alt="" />
Winner #2
 SPWF Pride Brick
Winner #1
SPWF Pride Baby
Mar 5th

Happy birthday SPWF. My thoughts as my baby turns five today.

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

Five years ago, two Prison Wives lived across the country from each other, were brought together by a similar experience and became fast friends. What seemed like such a little idea to help women avoid the pain and hardships we felt on our own journeys, grew into this incredible organization. A simple blog and Facebook page took on a life of its own and grew into this thriving non profit organization. I've personally coached thousands of prison wives, supported tens of thousands more online, conquered my greatest fear (by presenting a life coaching workshop to a live audience and appearing regularly on a radio show). Through all of the emotions, the ups and downs, the laughter and tears, what I cherish the most from the past five years creating and running #SPWF is meeting some of the most empowered, beautiful women who I not only call friends... but I call sisters. This is a horrible situation but we have made the best of it. We have lived above the existing stigma. We've carved out our little section of the world and OWNED that spot. Thank you to each and every one of our beautiful members... For sharing your vulnerability and allowing me into your life. Happy birthday to my baby, who grew into the #1 support group and safe haven for Prison Wives and family members. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️STRONGPRISONWIVES.COM: ENCOURAGING, EMPOWERING AND EDUCATING PRISON WIVES SINCE 2012. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️ #spwfpride. Xo, Ro

Mar 4th

Want to move Congress? Focus on storytelling.

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

You know Congress is back from recess when your friends start sending you articles about advocacy! 

Yesterday, several friends shared with me an article with former Congressional staffer Emily Ellsworth’s tips on How to Make Your Congressman Listen to You. She had some excellent suggestions. Tweeting or writing on Facebook is largely ineffective. Taking the time to make a phone call is great. And make sure you show up to town hall meetings. Read full article here.

Mar 4th

The Anatomy of a Good Letter to Congress

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

 

By: Rachna Choudhry

People frequently ask me: How should my letter to Congress read? Should it be long or short, use legal terms, or speak from the heart? To answer these questions, I went to an expert, Anna Vetter, Deputy Chief of Staff and Communications Director for Congressman David G. Valadao (CA-21). 

 

I was first introduced to Anna when she spoke at a conference about the power of constituent communications, and we exchanged Tweets that later inspired me to write a post on using storytelling to move Congress. We met for coffee one afternoon on Capitol Hill, and I asked her, “how can constituents ensure that their letter makes a difference?”

It’s the constituent’s sincerity that gets a letter noticed, she explained. Read more.

 

Dec 24th

Happy Holidays, SPWF Family

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

A quick, merry-filled note to our brilliant and beautiful Strong Prison Wives & Families Sisterhood. 

The Holdiays are hereSeasons greetings! At Strong Prison Wives & Families, Inc. we understand the bittersweet feeling the holidays often bring. We hope you can focus more on all the blessings in which you have to be grateful and less on the loss of your loved one. We know its not easy but its worth a try -- miracles lie in the tiniest glimmers of hope. (If you can use some tips on how to survive the holidays while he's gone, watch Ro's video here.) 

 

Its such a pleasure to have women like you as our dedicated members. We appreciate everything you bring to Strong Prison Wives & Families, Inc. On the most difficult of days, we know there will always be a support sister offering the right words and a virtual hug to console our pain. 

 

May your days be filled with peace, hope and joy this holiday season. As always, we thank you for your loyalty, love and support.  As we enter the New Year ahead, we have some exciting new things for you. We can hardly wait to share. Remember, if you need anything, our volunteers are just an email or message away. Happy Holidays!

 

With love and support,

Ro & The Strong Prison Wives & Families Volunteer Team

 

P.S. Need some extra love and support? We will be relaunching our new and improved SPWF Sister Support Network in early 2017. Keep your eyes opened for more information and announcements coming soon. Huge thanks to JoJo & Momma Sann for heading up this program.

 

P.S.S. Thank you to JoJo for another successful holiday card swap. We went from putting smiles on the faces of 50 inmates in 2015 to 150 inmates in 2016. Thank you to all of our members who participated. 

 

P.S.S.S. Would you like to join our volunteer team? Fill out an application here: bit.ly/spwfvolunteerapp and our team will be in touch after the New Year.

 
Dec 5th

VIDEO: How do I survive the holidays while still missing my loved one?

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President
It's time to start counting down to the Holidays. Yay and boo! Is a time of year thats supposed to be happy but its also tinged with sadness for us pison wives and family members. BUTTTT, with a little action and mindfulness you can make the holidays much better than the anxiety you are anticipating, currently experiencing, or experienced last year. Anxiety is a result of allowing your mind to focus on the fear of the unknown in the future rather than staying present in the moment. We'll revisit that concept in a few.
 
First things first, you MUST acknowledge it's going to be a hard season -- WITHOUT judgement or resistance. There's no point in trying to dip your grief in chocolate. Holidays spent apart from your loved one are going to suck. You have to accept that. When you can give your grief the space it needs then you can treat it with loving awareness and observation. This also serves as a permission slip for us to treat ourselves with loving kindness. 
 
Back in 2014, I created a video called "Surviving The Holidays Without Him." You can watch it here.  http://bit.ly/spwfsurvivetheholidays. I got such a wonderful response to that video that I decided this year we'll do a sequel. So here are 10 MORE tips to surviving the holidays without your locked up loved one. I suggest wathing part one first, then watching part 2. The tips build upon one another and you'll get the most out of the videos if you watch them in the right order. Once you're finished watching, please leave a comment below and let me know your thoughts. 
 

In Closing

Its easy to get down and feel the loss of your loved one right now. I'm giving you permission to choose happiness. This is the time of year that's best to celebrate and share our radiant love with family, friends and our little ones. It’s a time when we reach out to those in need. Kindness, love and appreciation are the greatest gifts we can give. So give them generously and watch them return to you in abundance. Lean on your support sisters. Use the affirmations and tips I shared in this video. Eat, drink and be merry. Surround yourself with everything you love. Another holiday is upon us, you've been gifted a limited number of them....choose to celebrate it with love. Keep staying strong, keep loving strong and keep supporting one another through this journey, you're one holiday season closer. At SPWF we are wishing you all the Hope, Wonder and Joy that the Season can bring!
 
xo, 
Ro
 
PS Do you want access to our video like this every month? Join our "Prison Wives on the Inside" premium section by clicking here.
Nov 24th

What do prison wives and turkeys have in common?

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

What do prison wives and turkeys have in common?  

They both use such fowl language. 
 
Ba-dum-ching!
 
I'm corny, I know. But now that I have your attention, I wanted to pass this message along to you.
 you (1)
A Thanksgiving Wish
That we all take time this holiday season to be thankful for everything that we have. Lets be grateful for small blessings of unexpected 15 minute phones call. And big wins like experiencing unconditional love. For the big and little things, let us take today to express our thanks.
 
At SPWF, we are so thankful for you.
 
With love, gratitude and wishes for an abundance of blessings,
Ro
 
P.S. On a personal note, I'm so grateful to use my life experiences to support you. My heart does a little flip when I think about it. As an expression of my gratitude, I'm making the holiday premium video available to ALL of our members. Be on the look out for it in early December.
Nov 23rd

Expressing Thanks To One Very Special Group of People

By Ro ❤ CoFounder/President

wishing you a veryhappy Thanksgiving! (1)

Being an SPWF volunteer isn't always an easy task. We can all agree that as a whole, we can be a difficult and frustrating group at times and if you're not ready to admit it, I'll admit it for all of us. ;-) Please allow me to publicly express my deepest gratitude for all that our volunteers do for this organization! A million thanks to each one of them. You are the best volunteer team I could ask for. Without your effort and support, I cannot imagine where SPWF would be right now. Thank you! It takes a truly special person to invest so much time into helping others without getting paid. You have made a tremendous difference in the lives of the women and children that we serve. Thanks to you, 50,000+ prison wives & family members will go to bed feeling less alone and better off than the night before. Thank you. In the words of our dear sister Cat, "take some time to chill a little for the holiday." 
 
Our SPWF family truly appreciates our volunteers in too many ways to list on in a personal message or on a blog post.
 
Happy Thanksgiving!
 
With gratitude and love,
Ro
 
P.S. Do you know our volunteers? Go to the "Start Here" page on our website to learn a little about each lovely lady and then drop her a quick note expressing your gratitude. If you only knew the countless, unpaid hours they've poured into this organization you'd be shocked. Just to keep us up and running. Just to serve YOU. 
 
P.S.S. Do you want to join our volunteer team? Fill out an application here: Bit.ly/spwfvolunteerapp. (If for some odd reason that link is giving you trouble, please email spwfro@outlook.com for assistance.)