By S. McKay, CRM
California Correctional Institution

On Aug. 14, the first InsideOUT Writers Prison Insight’s Culmination Ceremony was held at the California Correctional Institution (CCI), Facility B, in Tehachapi.  Seventeen students participated in the ceremony by reading their powerful stories they had written about the way they feel.

Invited family visitors were allowed to attend the ceremony which took place in the visiting area.  Warden W. J. Sullivan, Associate Warden B. Sanders, Capt. R. Lesina, Sgt. D. Spears and Community Resource Manager S. McKay were also in attendance. The visitors and inmates were treated to cake and punch following the powerful and emotional program.

InsideOUT Writers is a Los Angeles based non-profit organization that started twenty-six years ago with one class and one teacher at the Central Juvenile Hall.  The program now facilitates forty classes a week in all three Los Angeles County juvenile halls, In 2014, John Kovatch and Susan Cuscuna, expanded the InsideOUT Writers by bringing their restorative writing classes into adult state prisons.

Many of the first students were past juvenile offenders. InsideOUT Writers hopes to improve the outcome of the formerly-incarcerated by reducing recidivism.

Their Alumni Program offers continued opportunities by continuing to offer weekly writing classes in a safe place with support post-release for both juveniles and adults.

CCI is committed to providing rehabilitative programs and skills to offenders in an effort to reduce their likelihood of re-offending by the time they return to their homes and communities.