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Prison Writes Fundraiser is Launched

Make a difference with your contribution today!

Since our inception in October of 2015, Prison Writes has provided workshops for: male and female at-risk youth (teens within the court system) in Brooklyn group homes; formerly incarcerated community members at the New York Public Library; young leaders at the Lower East Side Girls Club; and mothers and children at the Women’s Prison Association in Brooklyn. And we visited youth at Rikers Island to deliver donated books to their book cart (provided by the Brooklyn Public Library).

Prison Writes has established partnerships with Administration of Children's Services Close to Home initiative and the Brooklyn DA's Office of Re-Entry. Through these partnerships we provide quality therapeutic writing workshops to young people who've experienced the criminal justice system in New York City. We need your support to continue this important work.

Involvement with the criminal justice system at a young age can be a crushing blow to a young person’s confidence and sense of self.

Young men and women who are court involved, assigned to ATI programs and held in detention are disconnected from school and are at risk to become high school dropouts.

Prison Writes social work model understands that in addition to their court involvement, these youths education has been interrupted due to a variety of factors including:

Behavioral issues, instability with family and housing, community violence, gang involvement, poverty, learning disabilities, substance abuse, complex trauma and PTSD.

Between 75-90% of young people who come into contact with the Juvenile Justice System have experienced some degree of trauma (

Youth incarceration is very costly. In New York State the estimated cost is a stunning $352,663 annually, according to a report by the Justice Policy Institute. (Sticker Shock, 2014 The report finds that these long-term consequences of incarcerating young people could cost taxpayers $8 billion to $21 billion each year. For the amount of money we spend incarcerating one young person in New York State, we could fund a young persons entire college education.

One youths’ incarceration has real and lasting negative impact on themselves, their families, and their communities. “Inappropriate or unnecessary confinement can have lifelong consequences for a young person’s mental health, ability to complete school, get a job and earn income.” (

Youth who’ve been incarcerated are significantly less likely to achieve their high school diploma or equivalency. High School dropouts are less likely to generate an income above the poverty level. Adolescent interventions diverting young people away from the criminal justice system and supporting positive development can bring them back into their communities to continue their education and become strong and productive community members.

“Failure to complete high school has an enormous impact on employment prospects and wages earned in the future even without considering the contributing factors of criminal delinquency and incarceration.” (Sticker Shock, 2014

Literacy is key to education, and education is key to success.

Prison Writes is an innovative therapeutic writing program with a trauma-informed approach.

Prison Writes model brings together experienced writing teachers who are also published authors with licensed social workers to conduct workshops according to group work methodology and values.

Reading and writing brings the imagination alive, fosters creativity and opens doors of endless opportunities.

In order to be life long learners young people need a foundation of success to have the strength and resilience required for learning.

Prison Writes works with our young participants to build that foundation.

Through our workshops, youth meet real authors, participate in individual and group writing exercises, learn about the benefits of journaling, and engage in fun activities. Most important is the opportunity to explore literature and develop their writing skills in a safe and supportive environment.

Through Prison Writes workshops youth have the opportunity to:

  • Tell their story

  • Use their imaginations

  • Explore the world of books and literature

  • Develop their vocabulary and reading and writing skills

  • Experience the positive outcomes of therapeutic writing and journaling

  • Receive a journal and book of their choice

Make a difference with your contribution today. Thank you!

Prison Writes is a division of The New York Writers Workshop (NYWW), a nonprofit public charitable organization that is tax-exempt under Section 501(c) (3) of the Internal Revenue Code

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