The student news site of The Archer School for Girls

The Oracle

Filed under FEATURES, MULTIMEDIA

‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

A+group+laughs+while+having+a+discussion+at+an+IOW+Writing+Circle.+The+members+of+the+organization%27s+weekly+writing+circles+include+alumni+of+the+program%2C+teachers%2C+board+members+and+interested+visitors.+Image+courtesy+of+IOW%27s+Facebook+Page.+Used+with+permission+from+Jimmy+Wu.+
A group laughs while having a discussion at an IOW Writing Circle. The members of the organization's weekly writing circles include alumni of the program, teachers, board members and interested visitors. Image courtesy of IOW's Facebook Page. Used with permission from Jimmy Wu.

A group laughs while having a discussion at an IOW Writing Circle. The members of the organization's weekly writing circles include alumni of the program, teachers, board members and interested visitors. Image courtesy of IOW's Facebook Page. Used with permission from Jimmy Wu.

A group laughs while having a discussion at an IOW Writing Circle. The members of the organization's weekly writing circles include alumni of the program, teachers, board members and interested visitors. Image courtesy of IOW's Facebook Page. Used with permission from Jimmy Wu.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Imagine being imprisoned and confined to a single room. Imagine living in an oppressive environment filled with violence and brutality. According to the ACLU, 60,000 children experience these circumstances on any given day in the United States in juvenile detention facilities.

The United States holds the world’s highest incarceration rate per 100,000 for both youths and adults. Data was obtained from NPR.

InsideOUT Writers, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization, is working to solve the high rates of youth incarceration and recidivism in America through creative writing.

According to an article published by The Huffington Post, writing has numerous benefits, including helping people come to terms with past trauma, express their emotions and improve communication skills.

InsideOUT Writers is now taking this philosophy to juvenile halls and jails throughout Los Angeles County. The organization also serves as a support network for formerly incarcerated youth.

Co-founded by Sister Janet Harris, who served as the chaplain at Central Juvenile Hall in downtown Los Angeles, and former Los Angeles Times journalist Duane Noriyuki, IOW holds 39 weekly classes in four different juvenile detention centers.

Featured above is an infographic from InsideOUT Writers’ website. The recidivism rate in California is estimated to be as high as 70 percent, according to IOW. Used with permission from Jimmy Wu of InsideOUT Writers.

“In prison, you can’t express your emotions and talk to other inmates. Prison isn’t a place for that. You have to carry this facade of being an untouchable, unfeeling individual. Part of prison is survival. You don’t want to be considered weak in any way whatsoever,” Wu said.

“Because of this experience, writing was my salvation. It helped me remember who I really was and who I wanted to be.”


Disclosure: The author of this article, Alexandra Chang, personally supports InsideOUT Writers and will continue to be involved with the organization in the future. 

Print Friendly

1 Comment

One Response to “‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives”

  1. Anna Brodsky on May 6th, 2017 1:13 am

    Fantastic article, Alexandra! Thank you for sharing what this amazing organization does in the LA community 🙂

    [Reply]

As members of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Oracle welcomes reader comments and debate. We encourage community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, we do allow anonymous comments as long as they are respectful, relevant, and abide by Archer’s Responsible Use Policy. Comments are moderated, but not edited, and will appear once approved.

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Right
Navigate Left
  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Diving into diversity: faculty of color in independent schools

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Archer Maypole tradition weaves together past, present

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Alumnae share Archer’s impact on college experience

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Food and the self: Changing attitudes towards eating disorders

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Breaking the stigma: mental health on campus and in the culture

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Maria Chavez’s journey to Archer

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Archer girls ‘follow their passions’ in science honors research class

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Lost Years: Remembering the Japanese Internment’s 75th anniversary

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    ‘The enemy of my enemy is my friend’: how the rise of hate crimes is bonding Jews, Muslims

  • ‘Writing was my salvation’: InsideOUT Writers brings creative writing to juvenile halls, changes lives

    FEATURES

    Despite challenges, BFA theater applicants put ‘heart and soul’ into college process

The student news site of The Archer School for Girls