Prisoners have a passion to write, creating works layered with messages and life lessons. They have a lot to say and some very complex emotions to express.


For many, poetry is the way they prefer to get these ideas out of their heads and into the world. RTA participants are deeply moved to hear their own experience voiced by a total stranger, even if that stranger was writing in another century.

In narrative writing prisoners can freely explore questions of cause and effect, identity and change. 

"Dante writes ‘Halfway through the course of my pathetic life I woke up and found myself in a stupor.’ 


I wrote a poem inspired by that, called ‘Once I Awoke’. It’s me coming to the realization that I’m better than this. I don’t belong here. I’m coming out of that darkness, that sleeping state, that mental death."


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735 Anderson Hill Rd.

Purchase, NY 10577

Rehabilitation Through The Arts is the lead program of Prison Communities International, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization.