Office of Justice Programs (OJP)

InsideOUT Writers Supports Incarcerated Youth in Los Angeles

BJA Program(s): Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program
State(s): CA

Jurisdiction(s): Los Angeles County

Grantee Agency: Board of State and Community Corrections
Subgrantee Agency: Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Grant Amount/Year(s): FY 2016/1,863,105

About the Program:

The InsideOUT Writers (IOW) Program is a combination of creative writing classes and reentry services for youth in Los Angeles juvenile detention centers.

While incarcerated, youth in the IOW Program benefit on the inside from creative writing classes, introspective journal entries, and writing retreats. After their release, on the outside, students are connected with mentors, writing circles, group outings, and other resources that help them with the challenges associated with reentry.

BJA supports IOW through the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. Since 2015, IOW has received $50,000 annually from the program with JAG dollars funding about 90 percent of IOW operations for its alumni program.

For more on IOW, check out our feature story on the program.

Program Successes/Effect on the Community:

IOW writing classes give students a voice through pen and paper, empowering them, and giving them a chance to learn about themselves. Teachers are not there to grade or assess, but encourage students to be authentic with what they are trying to express.

Today, more than 1,500 youth participate in classes annually across California. Since the first writing class was offered in 1996, IOW has grown over the last 21 years and now includes an alumni program that supports youth once they are released. The alumni program was started in 2009 and has served more than 400 young people since its founding. The program has also partnered with more than 50 community organizations to provide programming and services that meet the needs of participants.

According to IOW staff, less than 10 percent of IOW participants reoffend after they are released. Additionally, 90 percent of alumni program participants are either actively enrolled in educational programs or they have a job.

Learn More:
To learn more about the program, please contact:
Jimmy Wu
Interim Executive Director
Inside Out Writers
Phone: 323 660-1866 x106

Also see the following site(s):


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