Making the Invisible Visible

Making the Invisible Visible

I’ve been working with Welcome Home Ministries, which provides supportive services to incarcerated women at Las Colinas Detention Facility.

This organization has implemented a-one-of-a-kind program. It is a peer-mentored, therapeutic community model, held in a dedicated dorm within Las Colinas. The FAIR (Future Achievers in Re-Entry) housing unit was designed to implement instruction, education, encouragement and direction BEFORE the women are released from custody. This program has resulted in an extremely low rate of recidivism. Re-entry programs should be mandated in all prisons!

Hopeful expressions

Rev. Carmen Warner-Robbins has been the Welcome Home Ministries Chaplain for many years and believes strongly that these “invisible women” are deserving of compassion, support and hope.

Woman holding pictures of her children

This is why I am calling my project “Making the Invisible Visible”. These women seek recovery and want desperately to re-enter society, and rejoin their families and to become visible within their communities.

Expressions of pain

My time with the women in Las Colinas and those already transitioning in society has changed my perception of the female convict. I am amazed at how Welcome Home Ministries and the FAIR dorm has transformed so many of these women’s lives. I hope to help change your perception of these women, too!

Woman standing proudly before her car

The soulful intimacy of my photos comes from spending time in my subjects world and capturing their essence. The permission they grant me, the openness they offer me by inviting me into their world, never ceases to inspire me.

An expression of sadness in the Welcome Home Program

Woman looking through chain link fence

Shirt reads S.D. Jail

Women in support group

Woman holding photos of family

woman behind bars

25 comments

  1. You successfully captured the pain in their hearts but also the success of one of the graduates! So proud to be partnering with you on this cause!!!

  2. The photo’s that you take and display make my heart smile, because I know it is helping others change the way our women are perceived.
    ” Everyone here has the sense that right now is one of those moments when we are influencing the future. ”
    Steve Jobs

  3. Thank you thank you thank you!!!! I am one of these successes from this very program. Thank u for capturing our beauty and grace and shedding the light on our darkness…thank you for your support..

  4. Donna is an amazing woman who has devoted many years and shed many tears to help these women also! I am a success story of WHM. Amazing!

  5. I did my doctoral research on the efficacy of Welcome Home Ministries. The unique peer-to-peer support and mentoring was scientifically proven to be hands down the most effective model for successful reentry. Praise God for WHM and FAIR!

  6. Such an amazing job of capturing the inner longings of these ladies who so desperately want a new life!
    Keep up the great work ~ Welcome Home Ministries!!! Praise Jesus who still loves to work miracles!!!

  7. Your words and photos have an eloquence one would have never believed possible to describe incarcerated women. You have given them dignity.
    The trust they have in you is evident in each photo.
    Great work. Keep blogging.

  8. I was released from the FAIR Dorm this morning! Today marks my 5 months and 14 days Clean. We need more women like you that take the time to show is that we are worthy of love, belonging and change. Because of the FAIR Dorm and my Higher Power I believe that 2014 will be our year to shine. Thank you Michelle for the pictures, this blog and the time you give every Saturday to come and spend time with the Women of Welcome Home Ministries.

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