Leading from within: Madison Dawkins brings health and mindfulness to prison


Madison Dawkins was a freshman at Penn when she first understood the crisis of mass incarceration, thanks to a seminar called Race, Crime, and Punishment, taught by political science professor Marie Gottschalk. The course left such an impression on Dawkins she created her own minor in race and criminal justice through Africana Studies, and began a student organization calls BARS–Beyond Arrests: Rethinking Systematic Oppression, to educate fellow students on criminal justice reform.


To Dawkins, the discussion of prison reform focuses almost entirely on incarcerated men, and ignores the effect of incarceration on women, especially on their health. Dawkins response was to lead a health and mindfulness program for incarcerated women at the Riverside Correctional Facility. 

For Madison, the The Power of Penn Arts & Sciences means forging her own path, finding support along the way.

Photos & video by Alex Schein.