"What distinguishes InsideOUT Writers from any other organization, whose objectives are to help juvenile offenders establish a respectable lifestyle, is that InsideOUT is actually helping the students help themselves as opposed to preaching to them what they already know."
Walter McMillan, President, Alumni Association
In late 2004, students who completed our writing program created the InsideOUT Writers Alumni Association. The purpose of the Association was to support other graduates of the program after release from incarceration. Many students have completed our writing program since its inception. Some leave juvenile hall and continue their educational pursuits going to college and graduate school. Some leave juvenile hall and enter the workforce. Others move from juvenile hall to state prison. And many are still in search of their way from inside to outside in the world. Yet they all share a common experience: the InsideOUT Writers program.
In 2009, the IOW Alumni Program has become an official component of InsideOUT Writers. The Alumni Program provides writing experiences, mentoring, and case management for former IOW students who have been released from juvenile hall. These former students will receive the support they need to survive "on the outs."
Following are the stories of a few InsideOUT Writers who have helped spearhead the development and growth of the Alumni Program.
Founding Member Alumni Association
Chair, Writing Program Board Committee
Walter McMillan was incarcerated in juvenile hall when he began the IOW program. Upon being sentenced to California Youth Authority, he started taking college courses. Once he was released, Walter graduated with his B.S. and went on to attend medical school at Drew University with an emphasis in nuclear medicine. He is currently doing his residency in the nuclear medicine division at the UC Irvine Medical Center. Walter is a member of the board of directors of InsideOUT Writers and part of the new Alumni Program pilot project.
Read More About Walter McMillan
Other Founding Members
Marlon Rivera was at Central Juvenile Hall facing a life sentence before InsideOUT Writer's co-founder Sister Janet Harris successfully advocated on his behalf to be sentenced to California Youth Authority instead of an adult prison. Upon his release, Marlon started a writing class for kids at Dolores Mission and was awarded a four-year scholarship to Santa Clara University. During college, he did two summer internships with the prestigious law firm O'Melveny & Myers. In June 2004, Marlon graduated from Santa Clara University and worked at O'Melveny & Myers. Marlon is currently working and living in San Francisco.
Mario Rocha At age 16, Mario was arrested for murder and placed in Central Juvenile Hall. During his 2 year incarceration he obtained his GED and began to write in a journal. Discovering a passion for writing, he joined InsideOUT Writers. Found guilty, he was sentenced to 29 years to life. With the help of Sister Janet Harris, teacher Duane Noriyuki and other supporters, his conviction was overturned. As an Emerging Voices Fellow for PEN USA, he hopes to complete an almost 10-year collection of writings titled, Young Lifer: A Prisoner’s Quest for Justice & Freedom. He is also the subject of Mario’s Story, winner of the 2006 audience award for best documentary at the L.A. Film Festival (www.mariostory.org). Mario currently attends George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
The IOW Alumni Resource Guide
This guide is available for youth who have exited Los Angeles County Juvenile Detention Facilities. It provides resources for enrollment in school, housing, employment and other useful agencies to assist with re-entry.
This guide is for youth who reside in the East LA, South LA and Hollywood Areas.
Read Alumni Resource Guide