Allegheny County Jail
Each year, Words Without Walls holds 12 classes at the Allegheny County Jail—six for men, three for women, and three for youth. Classes are team-taught by two students earning their MFA in Creative Writing at Chatham University. The teachers are encouraged to design classes that cover a wide range of creative writing genres, including poetry, fiction, memoir and essay. At the end of each semester, all the classes come together to share their work in a semi-public reading at the jail.
State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh
Each semester, Words Without Walls teaches a class for 20 men serving sentences at State Correctional Institution Pittsburgh (formerly known as Western Penitentiary). We read and discuss contemporary literature, craft poems and prose and work to revise these pieces with an audience in mind. Classes at SCI Pittsburgh are taught by Chatham University faculty, alumni, and MFA students. At the end of each semester, students share their strongest work at a reading for the general population at SCI Pittsburgh.
Sojourner House is a residential drug and alcohol treatment facility for mothers and their children. Each semester, the women of Sojourner House participate in a Words Without Walls creative writing class that encourages them to begin a practice of personal journal writing, therapeutic writing and writing for recovery. Chatham faculty, alumni and MFA students teach courses at Sojourner House. At the end of each semester, the women hold a public reading for their friends and family at Most Wanted Fine Art Gallery.