Category: Danielle Rousseau
The social and personal benefits of a collegiate education on incarcerated men have long been academically proven, but a new paper authored by a MET Criminal Justice master’s program alum in conjunction with faculty brings new light to the positive impact an education can have on women serving prison time.
“Doing Time Wisely: The Social and Personal Benefits of Higher Education in Prison” was written by Jillian Baranger (MET’16) along with Dr. Mary Ellen Mastrorilli, associate chair and associate professor of the practice of Applied Social Sciences, and Dr. Danielle Rousseau, a MET assistant professor and expert on issues related to gender, mental health, and trauma among the incarcerated. The paper finds that providing imprisoned individuals with the chance to pursue an education can “help to facilitate resilience in taking on the systemic challenges of reentering communities” and build feelings of personal development, resilience, and empowerment. Published in The Prison Journal, their research also found evidence “that engagement in prison higher education can support the development of coping skills and foster transformative self-inquiry and personal development.”
Read the paper here.
Dr. Danielle Rousseau has long dedicated herself to the comprehensive rehabilitation of incarcerated individuals, with focus on issues related to gender, mental health, and trauma. To advance these aims, the assistant professor in the MET Criminal Justice master’s program will lead a new BU study dedicated to assessing the impact of trauma-informed yoga instruction on the detained, conducted in partnership with the nonprofit Yoga 4 Change.
Awarded a $50,000 grant by the Chartrand Family Foundation, the Yoga 4 Change study will compare three groups of incarcerated individuals—a set of volunteers who have opted into the yoga-based correctional program, a set that has been designated to participate via sentencing, and a control group that does not participate—and evaluate whether the intellectual and physical practices can aid in the emotional growth of participants and better prime them for healthy re-entry into society. The study will be based in Jacksonville, Florida, and the grant affords 50 days of study for Rousseau and a team of BU faculty and graduate students, to assess Yoga 4 Change’s viability and possible expansion.
“I have seen that embodied mindfulness programming can help to ameliorate mental health symptoms, improve physical well-being and create positive coping strategies,” said Dr. Rousseau, who is also a licensed therapist and certified yoga teacher. “Yoga can help with impulse control, bring greater awareness, and allow the practitioner to more effectively maintain sobriety and to manage trauma symptoms by staying present.”
Read more, including a Q&A with Dr. Rousseau, at Yoga 4 Change.
When it comes to criminal justice reform, women—who make up a relatively small but growing amount of the United States’ overall incarcerated population—get the short end of the stick. According to Boston University Prison Education Program Faculty Coordinator Danielle Rousseau, reform often overlooks the specific plight of female inmates. This is a glaring oversight, the professor in the Metropolitan College Criminal Justice program says, as “women’s experience in the criminal justice system has an immense effect on future generations of our society.”
Read more at The Independent Voter Network.
Dr. Danielle Rousseau, a Metropolitan College Criminal Justice professor and faculty coordinator of the Boston University Prison Education Program, will give a presentation on how the BU community can affect change in bringing greater harmony and equality to vulnerable populations, close achievement gaps, and promote positive social growth in the region.
The Reducing Disparities and Promoting Well-Being in Boston: The Role of the BU Community event is part of the Boston University Initiative on Cities’ Reducing Disparities series, which seeks to address racial inequities and explore the positive role the University can play in the surrounding community.