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Otter Creek: Creative Writing Inside the Prison

Otter Creek

Creative Writing Inside the Prison

Thousand Kites team members are facilitating creative writing and playwriting workshops at the Otter Creek Correctional Center in Wheelwright, KY. condrete_rose_drawing

Located in an historic coal mining camp town, Wheelwright, KY, Otter Creek was built as a source of jobs and is run as a private prison by the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA).  After the consolidation of two local high schools, the CCA facility is now the largest employer in the town and has contracts to house women from Kentucky and Hawaii. One of the women in the group wrote: “They built a prison inside an old mine—a hole where men took out what they wanted and threw back in what they didn’t.”

This work continues with a group of 20 women each week at the facility. In June 2009 we produced a new play, Finally Free, exploring the themes of confinement and freedom in various moments in our lives.

Listen to the opening segment of the play, live from Otter Creek:

Listen to one poem by group member Jean Mooney:

Check out the work that the groups have created:

Finally Free
: A play

The Concrete Rose Garden: A collection of poems and stories

Voices From Otter Creek: A play

Check out the Thousand Kites Facilitation Guide to help you use this work in your community to kick-start a criminal justice dialogue.