115: What I Learned from Men in Prison

115: What I Learned from Men in Prison

Welcome to Season 12. Today, we’re starting a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. We put a call out for stories, so you will hear stories her students have written recently and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world.

To help us get this right, we asked Xaire, who is a poet, singer-songwriter, actor, and teacher to co-host with us. Xaire teaches writing and poetry to kids in the foster care system. 

THIS MUST BE SAID: We don’t mean to sensationalize crime or someone who breaks the law. Airing these stories is in no way meant to take anything away from the victims of violent crime. Instead, we want to share stories, because we believe that stories lead to understanding. And if there’s something we need more of these days, it’s understanding. 

The first story in our series was written by our own Allison Langer. It’s a story about change. A change in the way Allison sees the justice system and the way she sees the people caught up in the justice system. 

Our hope (after hearing all the stories in the series) is that you will see in the men and women, what we have come to see: intelligent, motivated, kind human beings who made a mistake--sometimes, very big, huge, awful mistakes. Most of the people who are incarcerated are suffering from trauma, had to make very difficult choices at a young age, and got tangled up in a flawed system. Some have been misjudged and wrongfully convicted. But those men and women are NOT their crimes. They have paid their debts, matured, and are ready to move on with their lives.

Maybe you will fear the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated less or not at all. Maybe you will support laws that provide equal justice and job opportunities to the formerly incarcerated. Maybe you’ll give your family members a break when they disappoint you. Maybe you will have more patience with young people who have messed up. 

Our hope extends to those who are victims of violent crimes. These stories are for you too. We hope hearing some of these stories will bring some relief.

Writing Class Radio is produced by Allison Langer, Andrea Askowitz, Xaire, and by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski and Courtney Fox at the Sound Off Media Company. Music by Xaire and Marnino Toussaint.

There’s more writing class on our website, writingclassradio.com: including video classes, essays to study, and editing resources. 

If you love the lessons you get on each episode, you can get them ALL in one place--our three-part video series--for $50. Click Video Classes on our website.

If you want to be a part of the movement that helps people better understand each other through storytelling, follow us on Patreon. For $10/month Andrea will answer all your publishing questions. For $25/month you can join Allison’s First Draft weekly writers group, where you can write and share your work every Tuesday 12-1 (ET). www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio.

A new episode will drop every other WEDNESDAY. So look for us. 

There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

This series is dedicated to Luis Aracena. You are missed and loved. May you rest in peace.

See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.


Welcome to Season 12. Today, we’re starting a 10-part series inspired by the people Allison Langer taught memoir writing, in a men’s prison. We put a call out for stories, so you will hear stories her students have written recently and stories from other incarcerated or formerly incarcerated people around the world.

To help us get this right, we asked Xaire, who is a poet, singer-songwriter, actor, and teacher to co-host with us. Xaire teaches writing and poetry to kids in the foster care system. 

THIS MUST BE SAID: We don’t mean to sensationalize crime or someone who breaks the law. Airing these stories is in no way meant to take anything away from the victims of violent crime. Instead, we want to share stories, because we believe that stories lead to understanding. And if there’s something we need more of these days, it’s understanding. 

The first story in our series was written by our own Allison Langer. It’s a story about change. A change in the way Allison sees the justice system and the way she sees the people caught up in the justice system. 

Our hope (after hearing all the stories in the series) is that you will see in the men and women, what we have come to see: intelligent, motivated, kind human beings who made a mistake--sometimes, very big, huge, awful mistakes. Most of the people who are incarcerated are suffering from trauma, had to make very difficult choices at a young age, and got tangled up in a flawed system. Some have been misjudged and wrongfully convicted. But those men and women are NOT their crimes. They have paid their debts, matured, and are ready to move on with their lives.

Maybe you will fear the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated less or not at all. Maybe you will support laws that provide equal justice and job opportunities to the formerly incarcerated. Maybe you’ll give your family members a break when they disappoint you. Maybe you will have more patience with young people who have messed up. 

Our hope extends to those who are victims of violent crimes. These stories are for you too. We hope hearing some of these stories will bring some relief.

Writing Class Radio is produced by Allison Langer, Andrea Askowitz, Xaire, and by Matt Cundill, Evan Surminski and Courtney Fox at the Sound Off Media Company. Music by Xaire and Marnino Toussaint.

There’s more writing class on our website, writingclassradio.com: including video classes, essays to study, and editing resources. 

If you love the lessons you get on each episode, you can get them ALL in one place--our three-part video series--for $50. Click Video Classes on our website.

If you want to be a part of the movement that helps people better understand each other through storytelling, follow us on Patreon. For $10/month Andrea will answer all your publishing questions. For $25/month you can join Allison’s First Draft weekly writers group, where you can write and share your work every Tuesday 12-1 (ET). www.Patreon.com/writingclassradio.

A new episode will drop every other WEDNESDAY. So look for us. 

There’s no better way to understand ourselves and each other, than by writing and sharing our stories. Everyone has a story. What’s yours?

This series is dedicated to Luis Aracena. You are missed and loved. May you rest in peace.

See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.