Kathleen Mitchell founded the DIGNITY (Developing Individual Growth and New Independence Through Yourself) program because she understood the revolving door of jail for prostituted women. There were simply no programs to address their specific issues of victimization, abuse, low self-esteem and dependency—emotionally and financially—on their controllers (pimps).
With her belief that survivor-run programs are the best way to help prostituted women leave “the life," DIGNITY began:
1989 - DIGNITY was founded in Durango Jail by Kathleen Mitchell
1992 - Kathleen partnered with Catholic Charities to provide outreach and teach life-skills classes to women at risk.
1995 - DIGNITY became a program of Catholic Charities and partnered with the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council’s juvenile justice program.
1996 - DIGNITY opened its first residential recovery program.
1997 - DIGNITY partnered with the city of Phoenix to offer its diversion program to allow women a chance to make a major life change without going to jail
2005 - the diversion program grew to include education for men who solicited prostitution to help break the cycle of demand
2007 – DIGNITY receives the Peter F. Drucker Award for Innovative Programs
2009 – DIGNITY holds its inaugural DIGNITY Immersion Experience
2010 – DIGNITY Immersion receives the Great Phoenix Child Abuse Prevention Council’s Cherish the Children Award
Today, DIGNITY is one of only a handful of such programs in the country.