The Writing Program
While detained, incarcerated youth typically need positive structure and purpose-driven programming in order to channel the complex emotions associated with juvenile detention in a constructive way. The Writing Program at InsideOUT Writers encourages students to write with clarity and authenticity about their past, current, and future. Through writing, IOW students are encouraged to channel their feelings of hopelessness, anger, fear, and frustration into writing, rather than into anti-social and criminal behaviors.
By the Numbers
Each week, the Writing Program typically provides dynamic arts education to 175-250 youth who are incarcerated in one of four LA County juvenile detention facilities. With no more than 12 students in an InsideOUT Writers creative writing class, instructors foster intensive peer-to-peer interaction to cultivate empathy and free expression among the Writers. We help our youth to build confidence by encouraging them to read their written work out loud during class and engage in healthy discussion with their classmates to share positive, constructive feedback to one another.
Sharing their Work
In addition to creative writing classes, the InsideOUT Writing Program offers students the opportunity to share their work with broader audiences through Open Mic Nights and our quarterly InDepth literary journal. After strengthening public speaking and communication skills during writing class sessions, the Open Mic Nights provide a setting for Writers to present their work. When their writing resonates with others both within InsideOUT Writers and beyond, Writers’ self-confidence improves and they grow even more prepared to re-enter their communities.
Annual Writers Retreat
The final component of the Writing Program is our Annual Writers Retreat, during which our students come together away from their detention centers to continue their personal development and share their written work in a larger setting. Participation in the retreat is contingent on a positive behavioral track record, which we hope motivates students to stay on track as they look forward to the retreat.
Video: Inside The Halls
Maximum number of students in an InsideOUT Writers Creative Writing Class
Trauma- and healing-informed volunteer creative writing teachers
Writers & Alumni Served through InsideOUT Writers' programs (And Counting!)
% recidivism among InsideOUT Alumni past and present (versus ~75% nationally)