Donate to Calm Waters
Close this search box.

Incarcerated Oklahomans
Grief Support

Serving detained men and women experiencing grief

Since January 2023, Calm Waters provides FREE grief support groups to incarcerated Oklahomans at the OK County Jail. Detainees are invited to register for the grief support group, which is divided by gender and held one hour each week for a nine-week series. 

Erin Engelke, Hannah Showalter, Mac Mullings at OK County Jail

As the Vice Chair of the Community Advisory Board for the Jail Trust, Calm Waters Chief Executive Officer Erin Engelke has seen first-hand the need for mental health resources at the facility.  Through in-depth collaboration with Jail Program Coordinator Mac Mullings, Calm Waters former Program Director Hannah Showalter, LMSW, created a grief-support program to effectively and responsibly serve incarcerated Oklahomans struggling with their mental health. 

We know that individuals currently detained at the OK County Jail are facing a wide variety of grief. many are grieving a death, child separation, relationship loss, or a general grief for their loss of freedom.  Some detainees will benefit with support to help them cope with losing the life they led before their incarceration, or with coming to terms with the actions that led to their arrest.

With the help from TEEM, Calm Waters has recruited a male and female contract facilitator for the groups. It was imperative when hiring group facilitators that the individuals chosen had experienced incarceration. By having a leader who knows the emotions and hardships our participants are facing in jail, there is an established sense of trust and emotional safety. All facilitators must complete Calm Waters grief training and will lead the groups following Calm Waters curriculum custom-made for this program.

Throughout the year, Calm Waters will also provide free Grief Workshops at the jail, providing vital information about coping skills, healing from loss and living with grief. These groups will be made available to larger groups of inmates, ensuring as many individuals as possible are served.

Participants register for groups through jail program staff.


We are grateful to be the recipients of a 2022 United Way WayFinder Innovation Grant. Thanks to the support of the United Way of Central Oklahoma, as well as the confidence in our program by the WayFinder Innovation Grant committee, we are able to serve these individuals.


Calm Waters utilized research from a similar program at the Maine State Prison. In 1998, Diane H. Schetky, MD, contributed an article titled Mourning in Prison: Mission Impossible? to the Journal for the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law about her experience implementing a prison-based support group for inmates with unresolved issues of loss.

“A long-term group allows for the gradual evolution of trust and the display of vulnerabilities, along with caring,” said Schetky. “It also permits the group members to process separations and loss as they occur within the group, the prison and their families. Secondary benefits of the group were that it provided a forum for conflict resolution, which led to decreasing conflict in the cell block, and taught the inmates new verbal skills and greater respect for one another.”

Support for families of Incarcerated Oklahomans

Student Support Groups

Ages Kindergarten to 12th Grade

Provided in 35 schools across OKC Metro, school support groups are a mental health resource for children who are grieving the loss of a loved one from death, divorce, deployment, deportation, child welfare loss or incarceration.

Students spend 45 minutes each week with peers who are experiencing similar feelings of grief and loss.

Cost: FREE

Private Counseling

Serving children, teens and adults

Private counseling is an effective option for any individuals, couples or families experiencing grief from the incarceration of a loved one. Private sessions with a therapist can help clients cope with their loss and come to terms with the situations that led to their loved one’s detainment.

Calm Waters accepts some insurances, Soonercare, and offers a sliding-scale fee structure.

In the News

News 9
Calm waters’ new program provides support to men, women detained at Oklahoma Co. Detention Center

The Journal Record
Calm Waters to provide grief support in county jail

Center to offer free grief services to detainees at Oklahoma County Jail

News 9
OKC nonprofit will offer new program to help inmates cope with grief

The Oklahoma City Sentinel
Calm Waters to provide grief support groups for OK County Jail detainees

Donate to the
Incarcerated Oklahomans
Grief Support Program