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Writing as a Means of Resistance: Benefits of Writing Programs in Carceral Settings
AuthorRobins, Emily M.
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When individuals enter into penal institutions, they often are stripped of their autonomy and individuality. In an attempt to resist "not mattering," incarcerated individuals seek out ways to reclaim their sense of self. Creative writing programs in carceral settings offer incarcerated writers adaptive mechanisms to do so. Such programs foster opportunities for expression of selfhood, critiques of social systems, and commentary on social issues. Much of the current research in this field concentrates on analyzing the writing that comes out of prison writing programs, rather than directly engaging with incarcerated writers themselves. In doing so, previous research has failed to determine how these individuals perceive writing programs. This study strives to fill in these gaps by foregrounding the voices and insights of incarcerated writers themselves. Drawing from qualitative surveys with writers incarcerated in Northern Nevada, this thesis explores how incarcerated individuals enrolled in creative writing courses engage with writing.