CSI instructor teaches inmates creative writing

Published: Feb. 12, 2018 at 5:10 PM MST
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A College of Southern Idaho instructor teaches inmates in Boise creative writing.

Shane Brown said he voluntarily drives two hours to teach a class of 25 state penitentiary inmates creative writing.

"Originally we were going to have this part of our 'Stage Door Series' here at the college, and I was going to go four times and work with the prisoners and get the writing and turn them into a script," Brown explained. "But, it became so rewarding and interesting that I decided to just make it a permanent thing."

Brown said he goes every other Friday to teach the class, and script writing the series has become a small part of the class now.

"I usually stay for three hours, and then afterwards I'll stay for an hour or two and work with the students individually," he said.

He's been teaching the inmates since last summer.

"It's been an incredibly rewarding experience. These are men that have made some pretty rough choices in their lives and they're all at a point now where they want to do something to make their lives meaningful," Brown said.

He said the reactions from the inmates have been positive and they seem to like the class.

"It's funny because they're really hardened prisoners, but when you get there and they start setting up the classroom, it's like being with a bunch of kids," he continued. "They're so excited, and they're joking and laughing and they kind of get to not be in prison. I mean, they are in prison, but they get to not be there mentally for a while and feel kind of normal, and I think that's really powerful and positive."

Brown said he'll continue to teach as long as the inmates continue coming to the class.