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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 134265 Find in a Library
Title: Arts in Prison
Journal: Corrections Compendium  Volume:15  Issue:10  Dated:(December 1990)  Pages:1,5-9
Author(s): R Welch
Date Published: 1990
Page Count: 6
Type: Program Description (Model)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This overview of the nature and benefits of inmate art program relies largely on information from interviews with persons responsible for such programs in various States, notably California and Oklahoma.
Abstract: Proponents of arts in prison give a number of reasons why scarce correctional resources should be spent for such programs. One reason is that arts programs pay for themselves in reduced cost for correctional staff and vandalism. Inmate time spent in art programs means less time for monitoring by correctional officers. Also, art programs typically reduce tension in the yard, property damage, and fear among prison employees. A second reason for prison art programs is that they are a time management tool for prison administration as they provide inmates a positive way to use their leisure time. A third reason for such programs is that they are a relatively low-cost way to introduce inmates to a different set of values, a new way of seeing life and themselves, and positive role models. There are consistent reports that the arts, in all their forms, help change inmates' lives. Most evidence on the effectiveness of inmate art programs comes from individual examples of success and from favorable reports by staff and inmates. Formal evaluation research is rare. One small recidivism study in California showed, however, that inmates who participated in arts programs before release recidivated at 31 percent compared to a State average of 58 percent. The study did not determine whether the arts program changed inmates or that inmates less likely to recidivate were attracted to the program.
Main Term(s): Inmate art programs
Index Term(s): Art therapy; Inmate recreational programs
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