Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Creative Writing Programs
Creative writing programs in U.S. prisons began in the late 1960s and early 1970s in response to the burgeoning prisoners' rights movement. The 1971 Attica riot was particularly influential in prompting the formation of prison arts programs of which writing courses were usually a part. For their supporters, these programs are inherently constructive and potentially rehabilitative. While financial support for writing programs has waxed and waned, these programs continue to survive due the work of individual writers and activists. The first significant effort to offer creative writing programs in American prisons was initiated by PEN (Poets Playwrights Essayists Editors and Novelists) in 1971. PEN was established in 1921 as a means of using professional writers to advocate for world peace, and its Freedom to Write committee has helped prisoners abroad since 1960. In 1971, PEN created the PEN Prison Writing Committee to advocate for and instigate creative writing programs in ...