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Poetic Justice Project, a program of the William James Association, began in 2009 with the vision of unlocking hearts and minds with bold original theatre.


Poetic Justice Project advances social justice by engaging formerly incarcerated youth and adults in arts education, mentoring and the creation of original theatre examining crime, punishment and redemption.

Deborah Tobola, founding Artistic Director of the Poetic Justice Project, worked for more than 12 years teaching writing and managing and arts program in California prisons. Deborah produced six original plays at the California Men’s Colony in San Luis Obispo before leaving to begin the Poetic Justice Project.

A widely published poet and children’s book author, her work has earned four Pushcart Prize nominations and three Academy of American Poets awards.

 Poetic Justice Project Advisory Board

John Battalino, Actor and Director
Milly Benson, Retired Juvenile Services Nurse
Traci Mettler-Bradbury, Media Consultant
Rich Sheppard, Actor
Cynthia Semel, Retired Prison Educator
Phil West, Community Volunteer
Guillermo Willie, Artist