FEPPS collaborates directly with the Women’s Village, an organization formed by women inside the Washington Corrections Center for Women (WCCW).
Since its founding in 2009, the Village has grown from five members to over 200. In that time, violent incidents inside WCCW have dramatically decreased.
In 2008, a mental health specialist and psychologist at the prison 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 that 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.
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 129 classes taught by over 102 professors to 252 women.
FEPPS collaborates with an Education Advisory Council of women inside the prison, some of whom are members of the Village, to make decisions about the college program. The student Advisory Council is involved in all aspects of the program including teacher training, hiring, new student orientation, study halls, mentoring, workshop design and creation, and other aspects of running the program.