Testimonials from the institutions:

PoetsIN have added tangible value to our education department. In the year that they have been delivering the creative writing workshops I’ve seen mental wellness increase, self-harm decrease dramatically, addictions handled, self-worth improve and marked positive changes in the participants’ behaviour and skills in preparation for their release. The measurements they provide are extremely valuable. I highly recommend them.
– Wayne Peters, Director of Education, HMP Peterborough

Residents have been involved with the PoetsIN writing group for a number of months [and] initially had reservations about opening up their feelings and expressing themselves. The group was established with a small cohort of potential female residents who were willing to express themselves through the written word.
The group has challenged residents to push the boundaries of their creative skills.
As the weeks progressed, confidence levels improved along with literacy skills and communication. This in turn has developed their functional skills and future opportunities upon release.
Will Graham, Education Manager, HMP Peterborough

The work you see on here is from people I know, and it gives me great pleasure to see all the comments and the positive affect it has on the people who wrote the work. I recently had the pleasure of giving some of the feedback provided by people like yourselves on this site to those that wrote it. I must admit it was the highlight of my day seeing the faces of those people light up. It makes people believe in themselves and gives them hope.

One person in particular has been so low and had no confidence in themselves. They weren’t sure about handing their work in to us to be able to post, but after seeing the feedback, it made their day; and you could visibly see how much it meant to them. They were so proud that they showed the staff as well as the other prisoners and it was great to see them becoming so much more confident in themselves.

Sometimes all it takes is for someone to believe in you to make a difference.
Rob Goodliffe – Prison Officer, HMP Peterborough

Testimonials from the people we teach: (names are left anonymous for confidentiality)

No longer does the razor blade speak for me upon my skin. The pen in hand calls me day and night.
– PoetsIN group member.

For me, learning new techniques and styles of writing has helped me to express my feelings, deal with the unknown, and beat my demons of self-harming.
– PoetsIN group member.

I finally realise that I am worth more than rotting away behind bars.
– PoetsIN group member.

Before all of this, I couldn’t have cared less about a future I never thought I had.
– PoetsIN group member.

“My grammar and spelling has improved so much. I am much better in understanding where and when to use commas and semi-colons.”
– PoetsIN group member. 

“My stress is much more easily managed as I now write all of my emotional turmoil down.”
– PoetsIN group member

“My self-harm has greatly reduced due to this group and I am now on the lowest stage of care with my mental health team.”
– PoetsIN group member. 

“I have blossomed within my skill and confidence. Learnt new techniques and variations of styles. Enjoyed some group work which I wasn’t comfortable with at first.”
– PoetsIN group member. 

“Some of the poems I have found hard to do. But I have been able to open up and express myself.”
– PoetsIN group member. 

“I have found writing therapeutic and it has helped me deal with my PTSD.”
– PoetsIN group member. 

Firstly, may I take this opportunity to say a big thank you both for coming into HMP to start the PoetsIN group. And for including me in your group. Wednesday has fast become my most favourite day of the week. I so look forward to receiving the weekly task and I get so much from the feedback the previous task has received. Initially, I was very surprised that people were actually taking the time to comment on my work!

I’ve not only enjoyed my weekly PoetsIN session with you guys, but I’ve discovered a passion, a hobby, and an interest which I want to continue upon my release. My writing has already, and will continue, to help me stay motivated and keep focused and busy as I’ve identified my triggers for using heroin are loneliness and boredom.
– PoetsIN group member.

Great class; the teacher, Sammie, is so understanding and encourages us to write even through depression and the tasks are inventive and inspire me so much. The comments from the public makes it so much more worthwhile. I recommend it muchly.
– PoetsIN group member.

I have been going to PoetsIN and I have found it very moving due to all of the feedback and Sammie’s listening skills. She has been like a second mum or a support worker at times when I have needed support. I am so grateful for the group and the feedback, thank you Sammie.
– PoetsIN group member.

I enjoy the creative writing class. I like hearing the true stories. I like sharing stories with others.
– PoetsIN group member.


I love PoetsIN, it helps me to express myself. Sammie is great, she’s helped me to learn many things about myself. I’m grateful for it.
– PoetsIN group member.


Sammie has been brilliant. She’s always saying the right things to give me hope. The creative writing side of things has really helped me with my mental health. It helps me to express myself in a way that doesn’t get me into trouble. I enjoy talking to everyone as well.
– PoetsIN group member.