Prison University Project Teaches Creative Writing to Incarcerated Fathers

Graduating students of the Prison University Project (PUP) at San Quentin Prison

Graduating students of the Prison University Project (PUP) at San Quentin Prison

This article on Project Literacy's website on teaching creative writing to incarcerated fathers goes straight to my heart.

Over the past decade, the Prison University Project (PUP), the only college-degree granting prison in California, has taught over 1,000 students. PUP, led by Jody Lewen and located at San Quentin Prison. I was lucky enough to volunteer there as a teacher, and was inspired by the students and the staff.

Much of the rationale for offering a college education to prisoners focuses on recidivism: prisoners with an education are significantly less likely to return. But PUP's Academic Program Director Amy Jamgochian emphasizes that education is also important for the prisoners who are never going to get out. It especially helps incarcerated fathers connect to their families. As Jamgochian says, “They’re able to show their families they were doing something positive; they’re able to be role models as parents and as children."

The Key to Literacy: Teaching Kids to Write for Pleasure and Read for Fun

Kids who like writing outside class are seven times more likely to write above the expected level for their age. New research from the National Literacy Trust suggests that, just as educators improve literacy by helping kids read for fun, we can do the same for writing. 

The study was organized by First Story and questioned 39,411 eight to 18-year-olds across the UK.