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Who We Serve

Recent efforts to improve Los Angeles County’s juvenile justice system focus heavily on prevention, intervention, and diversion while expanding community-based alternatives to conventional interactions with law enforcement and the broader criminal justice system.  At InsideOUT Writers, we believe that our children are our future, including children whose actions and circumstances resulted in incarceration at an early age.  When juvenile detention threatens to stifle healthy development, we step in to provide support and resources to incarcerated and formerly-incarcerated youth in the Greater Los Angeles Area.

InsideOUT Writers is supportive of LGBTQ+ individuals. 


The majority of our Writers and Alumni:

  • Range in age from 16 to 25

  • Are Latino and Black

  • Hail from Los Angeles County (but some are from Riverside!)

More than 20% percent of alumni rely on some form of government benefits to support their basic needs and approximately 21% live in transitional or emergency housing.

Alumni Spotlight: Karmen V.

Karmen at Graduation

In her own words: "On May 18th, 2019, I sat with 2,700 other graduates. I was only one of many dressed in a black cap and gown. The moment felt surreal as I graduated top of my class at CSU Channel Islands. In an ocean of many others, I was one of the few to receive a psychology degree with honors and graduated magna cum laude. I was so immensely proud and could not help but reflect on the life experiences which shaped me. Seven years ago, I found myself incarcerated at Central Juvenile Hall and Camp Scudder. While at CJH, I participated in many programs but my favorite was InsideOUT Writers (IOW). As an adolescent, I developed an oppositional identity and was so mad at the world. Consequently, I found myself in many adverse situations with others. IOW taught me that the most powerful tools at my disposal are my mind and a writing utensil. 


Writing things down or saying them out loud are ways of projecting things into the universe. IOW taught me to write about my mistakes, desires, and plans. Doing so led me on a path of growth and evolvement. Seven years ago, I wrote about my desire to graduate from college while at IOW and here I am today. I could not thank them more for helping me find my voice and for helping me learn the ability to figure things out. Knowledge is power and power sparks change. We all have the power within us that needs to be voiced amid all the oppression many endure, especially youth. As a CSU graduate, I hope to pursue a master’s degree that will allow me to give back what IOW gave me. I hope to give back to my community and many others who have lived similar life experiences as I have. 


Had it not been for IOW and their support system, I don't know where I would be today. And I hope others see how important IOW is for those of us who have been adversely impacted by the juvenile justice system."

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