I was out of prison for 10 years when I got involved in R4R. After I crossed the threshold, I went from feeling like I always had one foot inside and one foot out, to feeling like I was finally, completely out!
—Jeffrey, 2009 graduate
Ritual4Return is a 12-week rite of passage program for formerly incarcerated men and women in New York City. Inspired by the insight that the transition from prison back into the community can be supported through rites of passage. R4R utilizes theater, improvisation, mindfulness exercises, chant, mask making, and storytelling to help individuals address and overcome the shame, stigma, and trauma of incarceration. Ultimately, formerly incarcerated participants devise and enact a theatrical rite of passage to formally mark the transition from prison back into their communities and into a new stage of life.
I have literally been in every reentry program they have to offer in New York City. And this is the first one that is actually interesting! It’s the first one that I feel is really trying to do something for me. — Shanice, 2019 graduate
With the guidance and support of Stella Adler staff, volunteers, and licensed social workers, R4R participants use mindfulness exercises and various artistic approaches to examine their lives before, during, and after prison as they strive to understand the possibilities for moving beyond the trauma of incarceration in ways that will bring peace, fulfillment, and meaning to their lives. The program culminates with a one-time-only rite of passage during which each person crosses a symbolic threshold marking the transition into the next chapter of their life.
Director of Programs & Ritual Elder
Director of Social Work & Ritual Elder
Director of the Arts Justice Division