Why Indiana Prison Writers Workshop is needed

Indiana Prison Writers Workshop (IPWW) was founded in September 2018 by Debra Des Vignes who taught a single creative writing class to ten men at Plainfield Correctional Facility. Since then, IPWW has grown into an organization of over 3 instructors who have taught more than 10 creative writing classes to over 84 men in five state prisons across Indiana.

Our creative writing workshop offers an outlet for justice-involved individuals to write and express. The workshop also reaches those who have experienced violence in their homes and communities to engage in self-reflective writing and to connect with their innocence and vulnerability. By using writing as a tool, participants find confidence and courage to write from their hearts. The voiceless become empowered and, together, we find hope and healing through written words. We don’t wait for feelings and problems to fester – we write about them. Support is offered for alumni once released from prison including publishing opportunities in online journals and in print.

Improve the lives of Indiana offenders through creative writing and expression

Formally incarcerated individuals and those affected by crime can strengthen their communities as law-abiding citizens

Learn more about our work here.
Program evaluation from IU Public Policy Institute researchers here.


Eternal gratitude and appreciation for your time and passion. You are an incredible teacher and facilitator and made everyone feel welcomed, valued, and heard. We cannot wait to collaborate and learn from one another again. – Brittany Morton, Academic Program Coordinator, Homeboy Industries, Los Angeles, CA

My son is currently incarcerated. I wish he would have had an opportunity to participate in a program like this. – Family member of an ex-offender

Contact us: Indiana Prison Writers Workshop, P. O. Box 44623 Indianapolis, IN 46244