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Our Philosophy

At InsideOUT Writers, we believe that juvenile incarceration is an insufficient, temporary, and even detrimental approach to curbing juvenile criminal activity.  InsideOUT Writers strives to support incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated youth through mentorship, healing, and community-building.  Though we cannot undo the unique circumstances that drive each young person into the criminal justice system, we are collectively responsible for helping them to chart a better path forward so they can thrive as adults.


Our philosophy includes four core practices that emphasize healing and empower the youth in our program.  Our teachers and facilitators receive comprehensive training in these methods so they can best serve our Writers and Alumni.


Whole-Person Approach: Our writing instructors and reentry counselors share the common goal to engage with our youth while considering the totality of their needs.  In the Writing Program, this often manifests through the mentorship and encouragement our teachers provide while guiding their students through writing exercises.  Not only do our instructors guide Writers through the creative process, but they also keep a close eye on our youth’s health and wellbeing as they navigate juvenile detention.  


In the Alumni Program, our counselors consider the full spectrum of an individual’s needs to help secure housing, obtain identification documents, prioritize mental and physical wellness, and achieve academic and professional success.

Trauma-Informed Care: Through our services, we aim to provide a sense of safety to our Writers.  For many of our youth, navigating the juvenile detention system takes a tremendous toll, so it is vital that we do not retraumatize those we serve along the way.  We strive to build trusting, collaborative relationships with the individuals in both the Writing and Alumni Programs that emphasize each Writer’s sense of agency as they grow and progress at InsideOUT Writers and beyond.


Motivational Interviewing: Motivational Interviewing is a counseling method that aims to identify each Writer’s unique motivators as they endeavor to conquer their insecurities and resolve behavioral problems.  It is a practical approach to empathetically supporting our Writers as they work towards better lives. 


Strengths-Based Support: We believe that every individual possesses unique strengths that can and should promote their success.  Throughout the Writing and Alumni Programs, we focus on providing a safe, non-judgmental environment to help our Writers identify and expand upon their strengths.  The result?  More confident individuals who are better equipped to advocate for themselves as they exit juvenile detention and rejoin their communities.

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