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Free Minds-Write to Right

Write to Right™ holds regular events with Free Minds, a nonprofit focused on helping incarcerated persons interact with poetry. The recidivism rate for incarcerated persons working with Free Minds is 14%. In contrast, recidivism rates for the general incarcerated community in D.C. is roughly 50% for youth and 33% for adults, a staggering difference demonstrating the power of poetry and writing for self-transformation.


These events with Free Minds and Write to Right are meant to expose high school students to this unique community and provide incarcerated persons with feedback on their poetry. At these events, students 

  • engage in critical discussion with formerly incarcerated persons about the power of poetry and language in self transformation and change

  • listen to poems written by currently incarcerated persons and discuss the writing as a group 

  • read and respond to poems - comment on the poetry of incarcerated persons. These comments are then mailed back to the incarcerated writer 

  • gain a larger perspective around the power of writing and the ways writing and language can act as an outlet and place to express 

Students often then meet after the events to continue engaging with and responding to the poems before they are mailed back to the incarcerated poets at prisons across the country.

Free Minds Event Feb 27 Zoom Recording

Examples of Poems that Students Responded To

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"Free Mind’s goal of teaching creative writing skills to incarcerated persons helped inspire Write to Right’s curriculum, as it demonstrated the value in teaching people, especially those who don’t have access, the importance of creative writing."

Alex McCoy, faculty advisor for Write to Right

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