Led by Jessica Hall of Prison Writes.
Prison Writes is an innovative, therapeutic writing program with a trauma-informed approach. We bring writing workshops to detained, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated individuals for advocacy, therapy, literacy and more. Prison Writes mission is to support participants literacy development and writing skills so they can have real opportunities for successful rehabilitation and re-entry.
Prison Writes' high professional standard was developed to meet the needs of vulnerable populations, while introducing participants to real world writers. Our workshops are co-facilitated by licensed social workers and professional writing teachers who are also published authors.
Through Prison Writes, NYWW instructors have taught workshops for formerly incarcerated community members at the New York Public Library, with youth populations in an alternative-to-incarceration program, young people in the New York City Administration of Children’s Services Close to Home initiative, program participants at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office of Re-entry, and Bronxconnects Alternative to Incarceration program for adolescents.
Our facilitators engage participants in literacy development through diverse reading materials and writing exercises. We aspire to increase participant’s confidence in achieving their career, educational, and life goals through writing. This includes the ability to communicate their lived experience to self-advocate, and to pursue higher education and meaningful and gainful employment.
We bring writing workshops to participants in the institutions where they are being held and receiving services. Our workshops are tailored to participant’s needs. For women who are preparing for re-entry we work with them to write their bios and resumes. Activities include lifemaps and poetry exercises reflecting on where they are from and where they are headed. For youth who have been repeatedly suspended, and their educations have been interrupted by jail, our workshops focus on literacy development through reading and writing exercises based on contemporary literature, magazines, comic books, and lyricists.
Jessica Hall, the Executive Director of Prison Writes, has worked directly with at risk youth in New York City for over twenty years. She has conducted intergenerational oral history projects with public school students and memoir writing with court involved youth. Jessica received her BA in Political Science from Brooklyn College graduating CumLaude. She graduated with honors with her MSW from the Silberman School of Social Work in NYC with a focus on Community Organizing. Jessica is a licensed social worker.