Sacred Words: writing for female prisoners

Monday, 12/05/11 on: VPR

By Marybeth Redmond, Produced by Betty Smith-Mastaler

(Host) For Vermont’s incarcerated women, stress levels typically rise at holiday time. The season activates painful memories and reminds them of bridges burned with family and friends. But, journalist and commentator Marybeth Redmond explains how writing has become an important outlet of self-expression for some of them.

(Redmond) Most Thursday evenings find a colleague and me writing with about 12 women prisoners. We write inside the caverns of Chittenden Regional Correctional Facility in South Burlington. Each of us records our well-worn pasts and present-days on yellow-lined pads of paper. Our aim is to use writing as a tool for reflection and self-change. However, the giving and receiving of our words also serve as a healthy release-valve for the daily frustrations that crop up.

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