Right to Write Press is a 501(c)3 non-profit, formed to promote the growth of emerging writers who are incarcerated in California State prisons. The Press believes that seeing a writer’s work in print is transformative: identity that has been erased by the prison system is reclaimed. Celebrating the emergence of a new identity – that of poet, novelist, short story writer, essayist, songwriter – Right to Write Press provides guidance and publication opportunities to prisoners who may never have realized before that they are, at heart, writers.
The reality of writing in a prison is that it is immediate, personal, often interrupted by writers being moved from one prison to another, with teachers and programs often difficult to sustain , if available at all. Few prisons have strong writing programs. Typewriters are rare commodities. Revision is not central to writing in this reality: these works are raw, perhaps flawed, but vitally important.
Rehabilitation is only possible through personal transformation. Writing as a means of deeply encountering individual experience, combined with publication to recognize the gifts and the achievements of the writer, both facilitate and celebrate this transformation. Right to Write Press inspires prison writers to grow as artists by showcasing their achievements in professional quality publications. Right to Write Press will accept and review manuscripts from incarcerated poets, novelists, essay writers, and songwriters, and will work with these authors with an aim to publishing their body of work for distribution to family and friends, and
perhaps eventually to a broader audience as well.
Besides being meaningful for the writer, for the writer’s family, and for those in the broader community who read these works, published works by inmates are important in the writer’s efforts to seek parole, demonstrating their dedication and rehabilitation to the boards that determine eligibility for release from prison.