BIG THANKS to Michael Che, Justin Corney and SNL for their generous donation of tickets to SNL Live to auction for Prison Writes. Through the site Charitybuzz, and the assistance of Lindsey Arenberg from NBC, Prison Writes raised $6318 to continue our writing workshops with youth who are experiencing re-entry, in detention, or are in an Alternative to Incarceration program. Prison Writes workshops focus on developing literacy skills to enhance communication, self-expression and advocacy.
As our readers know, Justin is a contributor to our blogs, and if you haven’t read one of his entry’s, I suggest you take a moment to do so. His immediate and evocative writing brings the reader into his world, and tells us so much about the impact of the criminal justice system. Oh, and his cousin is Michael Che!
Our workshops bring young people quality materials such as novels, journal’s, and magazines. Through the New York Writers Workshop we have access to New York City’s best writing teachers who are also published authors. Our social work model ensures that participants social emotional needs are attended to.
In the Bronx we are providing workshops for young people in BronxConnects Alternative to Incarceration program where they share their thoughts and feelings about the criminal justice system in writing and discussion. In March this group contributed testimony to the Independent Commission on New York City Criminal Justice and Incarceration Reform.
Prison Writes is also working with young people in New York City Administration for Children’s Services Close to Home residences, and young women in the Gender Responsive Re-entry Assistance Support Program (G.R.A.S.P.)
Of our workshops with G.R.A.S.P. , Brooklyn DA Office of Re-entry Program Administrator Maria Abadia says,
“Journaling via Prison Writes has helped our clients express their feelings and thoughts. The group has assisted clients that do not otherwise relate have a dialogue that is productive.
It is helping young women analyze issues and concerns without fully exposing themselves to the world. It is safe place support and increases their awareness while promoting change and most importantly, develop their own sense of self. “
We thank all of our partners, and particularly our young participants, for working with us.