Warren Allen returned to his classroom recently and sat in front of the computer shaking his head. Allen had been assigned to write a news story on a lecture by best-selling author, preacher and college professor Michael Eric Dyson.
Dyson, a fast-talking orator, had covered a range of topics from politics and popular culture to criminal justice reform. “He spoke for two hours. Where do I start? What do I use?” Allen asked as he thumbed through notes he scribbled during Dyson’s talk at the D.C. jail.
Allen decided to focus on memories Dyson shared of his younger brother, who died in prison in 2019, some 30 years into his life sentence for murder. Beginning his article with Dyson talking about his brother, Allen thought, would grab readers’ attention. He leaned in and slowly began typing.
Allen, 37, is among about a dozen D.C. jail inmates who are writers, columnists or photographers for a monthly newspaper called Inside Scoop. Jail officials launched it a year ago as part of the facility’s education program. The jail is one of a handful of correctional facilities across the country to publish a news publication written by inmates.Read More