Prison Renaissance is Born! (reborn?)


photo by Peter Merts

There is a new movement afoot–or perhaps the movement is not new, but now named. Two Brothers in Pen, Emile DeWeaver and Rahsaan Thomas, have co-founded Prison Renaissance. Let me give it to you in their own words, from their new website,

What is Prison Renaissance?

The Renaissance of the 1400s brought the rebirth of reason in Europe, and the 1920s saw the rebirth of African-American art & literature in the Harlem Renaissance and its echoes.

Prison Renaissance began with a group of incarcerated artists who experienced a rebirth of their human values. Artistic expression changed the way they see themselves. Art and education will allow them to help change how other incarcerated people see themselves — as citizens and community builders instead of outsiders and burdens. We hope that a return to civic duty among incarcerated-Americans will change how the public views its incarcerated population — the largest in the world.

Our Mission & Goals

To use the art and community to create a culture of transformation to end cycles of incarceration

To reduce prison populations

To inspire civic responsibility in incarcerated people, as a step toward rehabilitation and reintegration into society

To use art as a vehicle to create proximity between the general public and incarcerated people

To use art as a vehicle to transform the lives of incarcerated people


Co-founder/Editor: Emile DeWeaver
Co-founder: Rahsaan Thomas
Administrator/Editor: Camille Griep

These two eloquent writers are giving shape to an energy that is already on the move. Please take a look at their website and be a participant in and a champion of this emergent movement. #prisonrenaissance !


About Brothers In Pen

Brothers in Pen is the collective name of the Wednesday Night Creative Writing Class at San Quentin State Prison facilitated by Zoe Mullery.
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