Does anybody know about ACE scores in prison?

Many of the men and women living behind bars aren’t aware of their own Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs). They’re unaware that these ACEs continue to play a significant role in their daily lives, or that they played such a massive role in their being where they are.

Trauma plays a significant role in crime and incarceration. Understanding that should lead us to question how we treat and care for people who, in reality, are traumatized survivors. 95% of whom will leave jail and return to become our neighbors again.

The Compassion Prison Project

Fritzi Horstman is the Founder and Executive Director of the Compassion Prison Project. She is a Grammy-award-winning producer for her work on “The Defiant Ones.” She has been a producer and post-producer on dozens of television projects and documentaries and has directed several films. “We must bring humanity and compassion to those living behind bars, and these acts will help transform our society,” she said.

The Compassion Trauma Circle

Experiencing the Compassion Trauma Circle and learning about the symptoms of trauma brings a sense of relief and self-forgiveness. It provides an understanding of past behavior and opens a doorway to forgiveness, making amends, and healing.

Step Inside the Circle documentary

In February 2020, 23 Crew Members, including Academy-Award nominated Director of Photography Rodrigo Prieto and Grammy-Award winning producer Fritzi Horstman. Producers Monica Chiapa and Academy-Award nominated producer Vivanne Nacif filmed the Compassion Trauma Circle with 235 incarcerated men at a Maximum Security Prison in Lancaster, California.

Men and women take a step inside the Compassion Trauma Circle for each Adverse Childhood Experience they have experienced. They used the Adverse Childhood Experiences questionnaire created by Dr. Vincent Felitti and Robert Anda of the CDC to define trauma.

This film is a call to action.

A call to spread the word about ACEs, a request to understand the physical, emotional, and social impact ACEs have wrought on our society and to stress the importance of care (not punishment) going forward in the criminal justice system. 

Do you know your score?

Discover your ACE score and unlock a new understanding of your life. Take the test and gain insights into how your early experiences shape your well-being. Don't let your past define you – empower yourself with knowledge.

Andrew Willis

Andrew Willis


Andrew was a Captain in the British Army before practicing integrated marketing communications and marketing, mostly for global brands. A survivor of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, and suicide, Andrew dedicated the second half of his life to protecting children from trauma.

Andrew has an ACE score of 5.


Authors express their own opinions which do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Stop Abuse Campaign.