Writers’ Block

Writers’ Block is an arts-in-prisons program designed to help individuals who are incarcerated express themselves through creative writing and poetry.

It helps those who are still in the system cope with their situation. It helps them be heard in an environment where they often feel voiceless. It provides them with valuable soft skills that can give them an edge in finding and maintaining employment when they transition back into their communities. Ultimately, the program aims to reduce violence and emotional distress for those still in the system, and to reduce recidivism for those who are no longer there.

How Does It Work?

Currently 50-60 people join in monthly meetings with NWC Teaching Artists at a variety of detention facilities throughout Nebraska. They participate in small group workshops that foster collaboration and sharing. They can talk about their feelings about their current situation, their prior lives, and their coping mechanisms. We ask and answer questions. We work, dream, and learn together.

The NWC partners with other organizations in the community to help participants transitioning out of the system find employment.    

“It's a great experience as a teacher and the participants seem to get a lot out of it. At the most recent workshop I facilitated, one of the guys said writing helped him feel like he wasn't in prison for a little while. Moments like that make it a real honor to do the work.”

- Colleen, Writers’ Block teaching artist