The Returning Citizens Project is an arts program for citizens returning home from incarceration.

This program offers 16-week residencies working with participants to create writings and drawings for publication in an arts magazine, designed for print and web distribution. Returning Citizens will give a voice to formerly incarcerated people in the Bay Area. The program is significant in that it is independent / artist led, and not attached to the machinery of private prison commerce like the GEO Group or the Bureau of Prisons.


The project provides former prisoners a safe space to nurture their creative voice. It provides the rest of the population with experiential documentation of what the prison experience is, and how it lingers in one’s life and the lives of family members, even after leaving the locked doors behind. 

Participants will be guided through the process of writing, creation of artwork, as well as formatting and making editorial considerations for the publication. Participants will be expected, via written contract, to meet submission deadlines. Each participant receives a stipend upon completing the program. Additional activities will include a book signing ceremony, and gallery shows at various venues around the Bay Area. On Paper presents the voices of a largely overlooked and under-represented segment of American society.

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