In 1998, Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, founder and director of educational services for the Center for Nonviolent Communication (CNVC), made a visit to the Monroe Correctional Complex. Rusty Thomas, an inmate at the time, was taken with his message and realized the tremendous potential for improving his own life and those of others by learning and practicing Nonviolent Communication. Over the next several years, Rusty worked on building a program with Lucy Leu, an experienced educator and practitioner of Nonviolent Communication. On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in 2001, Freedom Project was officially launched.