In this article about a poetry and spoken word program from the Journal Times in Racine, Wisconsin, the reporter writes about the a program at the Racine Correctional Institution called the Scribe Circle where inmates get together every third Friday of the month to read poems and word on their own writings. They also talk about fundraising events that take place in the prison gym where the poets perform their work. At a recent event 147 inmates paid $2.00 admission to attend the event where all of the money collected went to the Racine Literary Council. This article goes into what got these poets into the art and what they are getting out of the program.
There is a link to a video of the event at the end of the article (Click Here for the video). What is interesting is the comments under the video on the newspapers website. The readers of the paper are very upset at the fact that these prisoners are getting the opportunity to express themselves through the art of poetry and spoken word.
I remember a few months ago, one of my friends fathers was telling me how he was working with inmates at a local prison and they started talking about poetry. He was telling me how those men were so happy and proud to be able to express themselves through the art. They were able to work through all of the feelings and emotions involved with their lives through the pen and were better off for it.
I am not discounting the emotional toll that this type of article takes on the victims and families. Many of the comments on the website are about that very issue. One reader wrote: “Victims of crimes do not need to see low life criminals reciting poems in their local newspaper. This is a slap in the faces of all victims who read this newspaper.” I am simply pointing this article out for the fact that poetry can be used to help people deal with their feelings and emotions and that the written word is a very powerful tool for both the victims and those who committed the crimes.
Let us know what you think about this article and using poetry in prisons. Leave a comment below.