Reiter, Sherry. (2010). “Poets-behind-bars: A creative “righting” project for prisoners and poetry therapists-in-training.” Journal of Poetry Therapy, 23(4), 215-238.
Author Affiliations: Creative writing Center, New York City and Touro College, Hofstra University, Long Island
Artforms: Creative writing, poetry
Program: Poets-Behind-Bars (PBB)
Program (Study) Location: Penitentiary of New Mexico, Santa Fe, New Mexico
Program Description: PBB is a long-distance writing program in which poetry therapy trainees mentor poets-behind-bars.
Study Published: December 2013
Participant Type: Adult male maximum-security offenders
Data Type: Qualitative: pre- and post-questionnaires
Study Design: This study was designed to “assess changes in personal growth, emotional balance, and increased self-expression over a periods of a year and a half” among inmates participating in the poetry program.
Evaluation Focus: Changes in personal growth, emotional balance and self-expression
Summary of Impact: Researchers noted a “slight increase in emotional balance” but concluded that “the number of questionnaires completed [were] too few to show any scientific validity. “Soft evidence” came from participant commentary on final questionnaires, which reflected perceptions of enhanced creativity, expressiveness, emotional release, communication and poetry skills.
KEYWORDS: adult, creative writing, creativity, emotions, poetry