In this "How to talk policy and influence people" interview with Fritzi Horstman, founder and CEO of the Compassion Prison Project (see http://compassionprisonproject.org/), we discuss childhood trauma, the significance of the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) science, offending behaviour, addiction, violence and the fact that the men and women who end up in prisons are often among the most traumatized members of any society. We talk about the power of the "Step Inside the Circle" promotional video and the men who embraced their vulnerability within the safety and love of Frizti's restorative prison circle in which shame has no place. We also explore the historical unaddressed collective wounds of slavery in America, and the impact of racism and inequity within the criminal justice system. We consider whether prisons can ever truly become safe havens of healing and wellness and the role of prison officers helping imprisoned trauma survivors uncover their authentic, unspoilt Self. In terms of potential policy changes, we discuss parole reform and the failed war on drugs.