Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Journal amplifying writing by justice-impacted individuals launches

A new journal featuring writing by justice-impacted people celebrated its launch Thursday.

Syracuse University writing professor Patrick Berry started Project Mend to show how literacy and writing can be healing for those impacted by incarceration. Berry has a personal connection to the penal system, growing up watching his father go in and out of prison. His uncle and cousin, too, were incarcerated, affecting how Berry approaches his work.

For “Mend,” individuals impacted by the justice system were paid to apprentice as editors and designers. The team — led by Berry — reviews submissions, edits pieces and designed the issue. The goal, he says, is to help people see themselves beyond a prison identity.

“It's not a magic fix, but I would love to see more programs that engage people through a humanities-space theme, through writing, through sharing of stories," Berry said. "I see that as being valuable.”

There were 18 contributors in the inaugural issue and some read their pieces during the event at the downtown library, including Robert Ehrenberg. Upon his release in August, he says he lacked family support and needed assistance. Now, Ehrenberg supports others’ re-entry transitions in New York City.

“Successful reintegration back into society is paramount for the newly-paroled individual,” said Ehrenberg, reading from one of his two featured submissions.

To view "Mend,"click here.

Ashley Kang is a content producer for WAER 88.3 FM under Syracuse University’s Newhouse School. She supports the station with community-driven story ideas; planning of the monthly public affairs show; Syracuse Speak; and the launch of an education beat.