A recent report suggests that prisoners who become interested in writing while in prison are much less likely to reoffend when they are released.
The Writers In Prison Network has published figures that suggest that inmates who participate in writing workshops will greatly increase their communication skills, with a corresponding reduction in their need to indulge in anti social behaviour.
Even if the newly converted writers don't end up displaying any literary skills or have even limited success in getting their output published, the physical demands of the profession will in all probability lead to an improvement in their behaviour.
Gary Forsyth, who served 15 years after committing a violent attack on a neighbour, said the involvement in writing had a major impact on his social development.
"The first few years I was in prison, I was a danger to myself and the other inmates. But, once I got into the writing, I was so mentally drained every night, I didn't have the energy to get involved in any fights, even if I'd wanted to".
Forsyth also commented on the physical effect the creative arts had on him :
"After a couple of hours or more of putting pen to paper, my wrist and neck were often so sore that I wasn't in a fit state to get in a ruck, and if I had, I wouldn't have stood much of a chance. Most nights all I wanted to do was crash out and rest my weary bones.
Mind you, there were just as many of us in the writers' club who went the other way and used pens and pencils to express themselves in a much less creative fashion".
So the pen was very often just as mighty as the sword.