InsideOUT Writers (IOW) was founded in 1996 and incorporated as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization in 1999. IOW grew out of the vision of juvenile hall chaplain, Sister Janet Harris, former Los Angeles Times journalist, Duane Noriyuki and several other professional writers who volunteered to teach creative writing to youth incarcerated in Los Angeles County's Central Juvenile Hall. The mission of IOW is to reduce the juvenile recidivism rate by providing a range of services that evolves to meet the needs of currently and formerly incarcerated youth and young adults. Using creative writing as a catalyst for personal transformation, these young people are empowered with the knowledge and skills necessary to successfully re-integrate into our communities, becoming advocates for their future.
In 2009, the Alumni Program was launched to offer an array of re-entry services and programming to support their transition back into our communities. The Alumni Program is comprised of five interconnected components: 1) transitional case management, 2) life skills workshops, 3) Writing Circles, 4) community engagement activities, 5) cultural events, and 6) field trips.