VOX PRESS, a non-profit arts organization based in Oxford, announces its Mississippi Prison Writes Initiative, designed to enhance practical job-seeking and rehabilitative skills through the study and practice of creative writing. Beginning in January 2014, the program is the first of its kind and will be launched at Mississippi State Penitentiary, better known as Parchman Farm.
“Mississippi Prison Writes will simply use the study and analysis of works of great literature as the start of a journey towards a deeper understanding of the human condition, higher critical thinking skills, and, above all, the ability to read and write effectively — all practical, life-enhancing skills that are essential to being a productive member of society and the workforce,” said VOX Press Executive Director Louis Bourgeois.
The 4-month class will teach students necessary reading and writing skills in a traditional college creative writing workshop format. Although these types of classes have shown to reduce prison recidivism rates by as much as 40 percen in some prison populations, the state of Mississippi has no such programs established for its inmate population. Parchman Farm, the states largest and oldest prison, has never had a creative writing class offered to its prison population.VOX PRESS intends to expand the Mississippi Prison Writes Initiative to all of the prisons in the state. The overall goal of the program is to help inmates develop and utilize their reading and writing skills in the job market once they are released as well as encourage an appreciation for the study of the humanities.
There are over 20,000 prisoners in the state of Mississippi and most of them will return to the general population at some point. VOX PRESS believes that teaching students to read and write can provide invaluable skills for newly released inmates who are entering the job market.
The program is at its fundraising stage. All donations are tax deductible. Donations can be made through VOX’s Indigogo campaign or at its website, www.voxpress.org. For further information on the program or donations, please contact Louis Bourgeois at firstname.lastname@example.org or call at 662-816-4775.
Courtesy of VOX RESS