"Thank you for helping me heal. For an hour and a half once a week, I have a safe place to work through my pain. My poetry class is the only place I have right now where I feel strong enough to write my way through all the tragedy and loss that haunts me every day. It's a place where I am reminded of love and joy and reminded to follow my bliss, and that everything will be OK. The smile I receive when I walk through the door, along with the heartfelt encouragement and compassion, is more than I could ever ask for or expect. Especially in a place as cold as this. Thank you to every single one of you, all of you that I do not know. Thank you for helping me heal and grow."  -- Julia C., Blaine Street Women's Facility, Santa Cruz Co.

Freedom Through the Written Word

The Santa Cruz Poetry Project provides weekly writing and poetry workshops to incarcerated men and women in the Santa Cruz County Jails. The workshops foster creativity and self-expression and provide an opportunity for participants to transform personal challenges into a shared experience through poems and stories. The workshops help participants heal emotional wounds and make meaning of their lives. The skills learned in the workshops can be life-changing, especially for those trying to successfully reintegrate into their communities after incarceration.

We are pleased to announce our first post-release poetry workshops! 

Every Monday, starting January 6 2020, 4:00-5:30 PM, we will be on-site at the Downtown Branch of the Santa Cruz Public Library, 224 Church Street, 1st Floor Life Literacies Center.

Please note: The class will be canceled on government holidays, when the library is closed on Mondays: MLK, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, and Labor Day.

All formerly-incarcerated men and women are welcome to come for reading, writing, and sharing our poetry. 

The class will be led by Sally Neas, who is currently teaching the Rehabilitation and Re-Entry poetry class at Rountree Medium Facility. 

We are very excited to offer this opportunity to our former students, and anyone from the justice-involved community who would like to explore poetry as a creative and constructive means of self-expression.

Please consider donating to help us buy materials for our classes, especially blank composition books! 


We are proud to be under the fiscal sponsorship of the William James Association. The William James Association promotes work service in the arts, environment, education, and community development. Our major concern has been transformative arts experiences in nontraditional settings, working with prisoners, high-risk youth and parolees.

© 2018 by  Santa Cruz Poetry Project