In Richmond, VA, a new diversion program is providing an opportunity for transformative self reflection. The program, called “Writing Your Way Out: A Criminal Justice Diversion Program” allows participants to take a Virginia Commonwealth University writing course as an alternative to jail. It is part of a partnership between VCU, the VCU College of Humanities and Sciences, and Richmond’s office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney. Participants in the program are selected by Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Michael N. Herring and others in his office. To be eligible, participants need to have a facility with reading and writing, and be low-level offenders who have shown a motivation to break the cycle of crime in their lives. They cannot be eligible if they have previously been convicted of a sex offense, a violent felony involving a crime against a person, or any form of burglary. In the writing class, students write their life stories and reflect on the events that have lead to their choices. They also share their stories with others in the class. Learn more here.