What I Learned Teaching Journaling to Inmates
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Product Details

  • Author: Tina Welling
  • Product Code: 88319
  • ISBN: 978-1-60868-831-9
  • Pages: 200
  • 1 Paperback / softback
  • Size: 5.25 x 8.00


In 2011, novelist Tina Welling began teaching journaling workshops for the mostly male inmates at the Teton County Jail in Jackson, Wyoming. What began as a little-understood impulse on her part became a meaningful journey with surprising results.

Welling was floored by how much she had in common with the incarcerated: “It’s just that they had been arrested and I had not.” They talked and wrote about self-esteem, anger, forgiveness, compassion, personal power, codependency. She gave the men one hour a week to explore their inner lives; they gave her an unprecedented experience of intimacy and vulnerability.

Replete with the kind of gorgeous writing for which Welling is acclaimed, Tuesdays in Jail is part memoir, part riveting exploration of individual inmates’ lives and challenges, and an enlightening and insightful examination of American incarceration.


“This book hits all the marks, and it goes straight to the heart. Tina Welling beautifully captures the humanity of the inmates, and reminds us, through gorgeously written prose, that we are all so much more alike than we are different and that deep down we all long to be seen, heard, and loved. I hope everyone reads this captivating book.”
— Tiffanie DeBartolo, author of SORROW, God-Shaped Hole, and How to Kill a Rockstar

“As much of a page-turner as Tuesdays with Morrie, Tuesdays in Jail opens locked doors and liberates creativity, compassion, and unexpected community. Tina Welling’s book is a gift of rare vistas elegantly shared. Unquestionably a must-read for this year.”
— William Powers, author of Twelve by Twelve: A One-Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream

“Beautifully descriptive and fast-paced.”
Rain Taxi Review

Tuesdays in Jail is a lesson in living. Tina Welling’s writing skillfully illuminates the intricacies of those whose narratives we don’t often hear. Writing with empathy and open-mindedness, Welling takes us on an uplifting journey as she tells us her own story. This memoir of sorts is an important testament to those society forgets and to the power of storytelling. A heart-rending read, this book is a sensitive exploration of the journeys we take, with practical lessons embedded in the text.”
— Nina McConigley, author of Cowboys and East Indians, PEN Open Book Award winner

“Tina Welling writes an empathetic, lyrical testament. Countless Tuesdays, she went into the Teton County Detention Center in Wyoming to help male inmates find their souls through writing in drugstore journals with number 2 pencils. Her crisp sentences honor inmates with long penal sentences of their own. This is memoir and manual. Through writing, drunks and addicts and thieves and batterers unlock trapped feelings. A baptism in hope and possibility, this book confirms what I have long thought: creativity saves us.”
— Spencer Reece, author of The Clerk’s Tale and The Road to Emmaus, long-listed for the National Book Award

“Throughout this book, Tina Welling shares her wisdom and insight into teaching writing skills to those who are incarcerated. Through her examples of dialogue, lessons, and conversations, she brings out the creativity and potential in those who have been often overlooked in our society, proving that these individuals do have a voice and should be given the opportunity to be educated, included, and heard.”
— Vita Pires, executive director of the Prison Mindfulness Institute

“On rare occasions you read a book by a person who is not only a fine writer but also a natural wizard of empathy. Some people say, ‘I feel so strongly I can’t put it into words.’ Tina Welling can put it into words. She articulates the deepest of emotions, both her own and those of the prisoners she works with. She understands what she feels, and then she goes on to understand what the prisoners feel. Read Tuesdays in Jail.”
— Tim Sandlin, author of the GroVont series of novels

“In Tuesdays in Jail, Tina Welling illuminates the inherent dignity of a human life. She explores, through striking and self-revealing prose, how each of us can connect to our personal power and sense of aliveness. This book is a profound reminder of our shared humanity.”
— Katherine Standefer, author of Lightning Flowers

“Read Tuesdays in Jail and accompany Tina Welling on visits to a place people rarely experience. Sit in on intimate and inspiring discussions not often associated with the incarcerated. As Welling says, ‘The inmates and I had a lot of characteristics in common. It’s just that they had been arrested and I had not.’ ”
— John Travis, guiding teacher at Mountain Stream Meditation