A Lit Mag By and For The Incarcerated


In the United States, there are over 2.2 million adults incarcerated (1 in 110 adults) and over 54,000 juveniles detained, making the U.S. home to more than 22% of the world's prisoners (despite being home to only 4.3% of the world’s people). Not only are prisoners taken out of sight, but they are often forgotten by the general public. Then, when they are released back into society (95% are released at some point), they are still irreversibly labeled with the terms “convicted felon” or “ex-con,” diminishing their opportunities for successful employment and respectable housing. Degrading labels like these encourage many people, including prison officials, to deny prisoners an outlet for self-expression—a crucial tool for survival and identity development.

Fortunately, Iron City Magazine, a national print and online journal, is devoted to ensuring that incarcerated men, women, and children are given the opportunity to share their unique voices with anyone who chooses to acknowledge them.

Iron City Magazine was founded by ASU Alumna, Natalie Volin, and her honors thesis professor, Dr. Cornelia Wells, in 2015. Iron City Magazine’s mission is to give voice to the creative expressions of the incarcerated and the formerly incarcerated. Our goal is to eliminate stigmas and remind the public that inmates can make meaningful and impactful contributions to the world. So often, this potential is forgotten or overshadowed by their crimes.

By acknowledging the humanity of incarcerated writers and artists, we encourage a culture of understanding and transformation, instead of marginalization. Iron City Magazine publishes fiction, creative non-fiction, art, poetry, one-act plays, graphic stories, and comics. We also capture the memories, insights, and perspectives of families and friends of the incarcerated, prison volunteers, and prison staff.

As Iron City Magazine continues to bridge the gap between the public and the incarcerated, it leaves a significant impact on everyone that is involved with the magazine in one way or another. By promoting the works of the incarcerated through publication, social media, and public readings, Iron City Magazine has given prisoners a creative outlet, and in turn, exposed readers to unique, artistic, and emotionally moving pieces.

As a non-profit organization, Iron City Magazine relies solely on donations from the public that are put entirely towards publication. Without people’s generous contributions, our magazine would not be possible. We are currently in the process of publishing our third annual issue, which will be released this fall. We value any contribution, whether in the form of a donation or spreading the word about the work Iron City Magazine does.


By Jacqueline Aguilar, Lana Marie Mousa, Dr. Cornelia Wells