Watch “Investing in Empathy | Kris Billeter | TEDxLivermore 

“Do you understand that in the event you are taken hostage, you will not be negotiated for?” rang in Kris’ ears as she entered San Quentin for the first time.


In this compelling and emotionally impactful talk, Kris addresses the question of “How are we doing Prisons?” in the USA. In the $80 billion American prison system, the answer is ‘not well.’ Since 1980 there has been a 400% increase in incarceration & protection expenses, and a 13% decrease in higher education in America, with 1 in 34 Americans either in prison, on probation, or on parole.


In the Guiding Rage Into Power program (GRIP) Kris has worked with a group at San Quentin whose cumulative time-in-prison amounts to 742 years, yet when they added up the total time of the actions that put them in prison, it was a but a blip – a miniscule 25 minutes of acting in anger.


What happens between anger and a crime? Sitting in the fire, asking this question, is about sitting in pain and discomfort long enough to let it teach you.