Free Minds staff on the Atlantic’s “The Art of Re-Entry” panel for Justice in America!

Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop was invited to amplify our members’ voices at the Atlantic’s “Justice in America” event in May. Grateful for the opportunity to fulfill our mission of uplifting marginalized voices, Executive Director Tara Libert and Poet Ambassador James Allen spoke on the panel “The Art of Re-Entry,” with fellow panelists Stephen Belber (Writer and Producer, O.G.) and David Domenici (Executive Director, Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings). Together, Tara and James powerfully spoke on the work and impact of Free Minds, creativity as it relates to self-expression and self-worth, and bibliotherapy (the therapeutic use of books to distance the self from one’s own reality). Read More

All the World’s a Stage: Shakespearean actors bring theater to the DC Jail


These are just some of the words shouted out by more than 20 orange-clad men crowded onto the floor of a tiny basketball court inside the DC Jail on recent Thursday. Members of Free Minds Book Club, they were responding to Shakespeare’s Sonnet 29, “When in disgrace with fortune and men’s eyes.” Read More

David Barclay Moore Speaks to DC Jail Book Club

Before David Barclay Moore, author of his debut young adult novel Stars Beneath Our Feet, even got a chance to introduce himself, he was peppered with questions and opinions about his novel from the high-spirited and inquisitive teenagers comprising the Free Minds juvenile unit book club at the DC Jail that meets every Tuesday. Read More

Free Minds Goes to Philadelphia

In October, the Free Minds team (staff and Poet Ambassadors Terrell, Roderick, and Nokomis) hit the road to participate in a conference in Philadelphia, PA, and share their poetry and personal stories with Philadelphia students.Read More

Baltimore Author D. Watkins Speaks to DC Jail Book Club

On a Thursday afternoon at the DC Jail, a group of men arranged chairs in a circle on the floor of the unit, surrounded on all sides by cell doors. They gathered in the circle to eagerly welcome their guest, author D. Watkins (The Cook Up: A Crack Rock Memoir, The Beast Side: Living and Dying While Black in America). The young men had been reading and discussing Watkins’s memoir, The Cook Up, in preparation for this visit. Read More