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Embracing Culture Within Prisons

Published July 12, 2023 | Updated August 6, 2023

By Lukas D'Ambrosio Communications Office

(Lukas D'Ambrosio, Communications Office)

Washington State Department of Corrections (DOC) recently organized a series of family-friendly events within the correctional facilities across the state to commemorate Asian Pacific Islander Month. These events marked a significant milestone as they were among the first family-oriented gatherings since the onset of the COVID pandemic.

Incarcerated individuals, together with their families, participated in vibrant performances of traditional dances, music, and storytelling, which served as a bridge connecting the inside world of prisons with the outside world of their heritage.

“I got young kids, so I actually teach them the culture now that I’m able to do this,” said Chris, an incarcerated individual at Airway Heights Correctional Center (AHCC). “It means a lot, you know. Just being able to sit down with our families is big. It takes us out of that prison environment and gives us a sense of normalcy.”

These events not only offered an opportunity for families to come together but also played a vital role in reaffirming the cultural identity and resilience of those incarcerated. These events serve as a reminder of the importance of celebrating diversity and creating spaces where incarcerated individuals can forge meaningful connections, fostering personal growth and a sense of belonging within the prison system. DOC looks forward to celebrating more in person cultural events in the near future.