Exhibit: Women Who Dared
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What She Said
  Jean Trounstine
  Educator of Women Offenders
  Boston WWD Event 2000
  Born in 1946
  Taught and directed plays with women prisoners at Framingham Women's Prison
Biography  up to top

Jean Trounstine was born in 1946 and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, in a Reform family of German-Jewish background. She learned by her family's example the value of working for the community, a value that she now identifies as rooted in the Jewish tradition.

Trounstine worked as an actress in Hollywood before moving to Massachusetts. In 1986, she began ten years of work at Framingham Women's Prison, where she taught literature, writing, and drama through Middlesex Community College. She innovated a special drama class in which she and the inmates would study a play together and then produce it in the prison. This work became her passion. Although Trounstine's job at the prison was eliminated due to cuts in federal funding for prison education, she remains involved in issues relating to prison and the arts, such as the alternative probation program, Changing Lives Through Literature.

Trounstine is Professor of Humanities at Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Massachusetts. She is the co-editor of Changing Lives Through Literature and has written a book, titled Shakespeare Behind Bars (St. Martin's Press, 2001), about her experiences teaching in the prison. She lives with her husband in Tewksbury, MA.

What She Said  up to top
[My parents] were very much doers... They raised us to think that way ...More 
The women [at Framingham Prison] were fantastic. They were smart; they were funny. It was more like walking into a community of women ...More 
It became my life's work. It changed me. It gave me a passion, a direction. ...More 
Going into a prison is being able to deal with the poor and sad and lonely women. ...More 
I chanced into work that became meaningful to me. Someone offered me a job teaching in prison and from the first moment, after the initial search, I was shocked, transfixed ...More 
Multimedia  up to top
Photographs Photographs
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How to Cite This Page
For a bibliography: Jewish Women's Archive. "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Jean Trounstine." <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pjtrounstine>.

For a footnote: Jewish Women's Archive, "JWA - Women Who Dared - Biography Jean Trounstine," <http://jwa.org/exhibits/wwd/jsp/bio.jsp?personID=pjtrounstine>.