About the Kid C.A.T. Essay Project

A selection of Kid C.A.T. members. Not all pictured here. Photo: Fair Sentencing for Youth

Kid C.A.T. was founded in 2010 by men meeting on the prison yard and in cells. The members of Kid C.A.T. (Creating Awareness Together) all received life sentences for crimes they committed as youth. They have remarkable stories to tell about hardship, personal growth, education, transformation and giving back to the community. They are men who grew up in prison and, as a group, have matured into a community that cares for others, is responsible to others, and takes accountability for their actions. They formed Kid C.A.T. to create safer communities and help youth grow into successful, mature adults through education, mentorship and restorative practices.

The Kid C.A.T. Personal Essay Project are written by Kid C.A.T. members who formed a writing collective in summer of 2014. This essay collection is born of the men’s initiative to write and share their stories. The writers developed their essays over a series of workshops organized by Kid C.A.T. volunteer coordinator Karin Drucker, led by creative writer Alessandra Wollner and guest instructors including author Dave Eggers, late poet C.D. Wright, and McSweeney’s editors Jordan Bass, Colin Winnette, and Andi Winnette, over the course of two years. These essays are largely without agenda — the stories focus on childhood, family, music, hope, food, and the impact of incarceration. Taken together, the essays gift the reader with a rich and varied picture of people, usually invisible, locked behind concrete.

The Kid C.A.T. Essay Project

Life stories written by juvenile lifers at San Quentin State Prison

Kid C.A.T.

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The Kid C.A.T. Essay Project

Life stories written by juvenile lifers at San Quentin State Prison