October 10, 2018

Creative writing workshops make a positive impact on the incarcerated


Words and writing have transformative powers. Reading can be a solace from the stresses of every day life. Therefore, creative writing itself is also a sanctuary for many people.

Chris Lewis holding his book, “Dear Solomon: Love is the Why,” based on a fellow inmate’s real-life story. The workshop inspired Lewis to write a book.

In an article published by The Indianapolis Star, journalist Jordyn Hermani explores a prison program for creative writing. Hermani describes the program as “a way to escape – legally.”

The creative writing class started as a one day workshop at Plainfield Correctional Facility in Indiana where inmates spent time writing about how their actions in the past could have impacted their victims. Participants then refocused those ideas into a letter to their victims. The success of the one day class resulted in a weekly writing course for 11 inmates selected by the prison based on interest and good behavior.

Inmate Chris Lewis explains the impact the workshop has on his life:

“We come here and we’re seen as human beings. It’s like getting a chance to go home and be seen as a regular person.”

Plainfield staff members have noticed positive changes in inmates that participate in the program. The excitement towards the program is already spreading to other prisons in Indiana.


Learn more about the transformative power of creative writing programs in prisons in the video below.

Christina Cerio is the Manager of Direct Sales & Special Projects at Melville House.