"Creativity is as important now in education as literacy and we should treat it with the same status."
Sir Ken Robinson, Author, Speaker, Educationalist
"In creativity I saw light, the place where anger was an expression in the search of love; where dysfunction is a true reaction to untruth."
Lemn Sissay, poet, writer, playwright
"We all know from our personal experience how participating in or creating art has the possibility to change how we see the world and our place in it. This is true for prisoners too, and I have seen how great arts projects in prisons can play a crucial role in helping prisoners see a new crime-free future for themselves."
Nick Hardwick, Outgoing Chief Inspector of Prisons
THE CASE FOR THE ARTS in the process of DESISTANCE FROM CRIME
- 42% of prisoners have been expelled/excluded from school
- 47% without a single qualification
- 52% have dyslexia
- 50% cannot write
- 65% have a reading age of less than 8
Prisoners are largely people with negative experiences of learning. Classrooms are associated with failure and humiliation making them environments to which they are not eager t o return.
Educationalists have identified the essential blocks to learning:
low self-esteem, differing learning styles (visual, auditory, kinesthetic), low aspirations, fear etc. These are widespread among prisoners and the arts naturally address all of them.
THE IMPORTANCE OF ADDRESSING OFFENDING BEHAVIOUR
The provision of employment, housing and education upon release are inadequate in preventing re-offending if the dysfunctions and deficits in the psychological make up of offenders have not been sufficiently addressed.
Three of the most vital elements to the rehabilitation process are:
Confronting prisoners with the full picture and human impact of what they have done
Challenging their justifications for and attitudes to what they have done – raising victim awareness
Changing their behavioural responses so they can sustain more productive and crime free lives
THE ROLE OF ART PROJECTS
The arts help prisoners by having immediate and potentially permanent positive outcomes that contribute to their process of desistance from crime:
- Raised self-esteem
- Improved emotional literacy due to self-expression
- Improved self-awareness and communications skills
- Personal and social development
- Improved sense of self-efficacy through acquirement of many new transferable skills
- Revelation of new pathways forward that were formerly unknown
In recent research “Unlocking the Value” (New Philanthropy Capital, 2011) it was found that arts projects can halve the expected rate of re-offending.
To learn more about how the arts can address criminal behaviour and help prevent re-offending I offer:
- Personal consultation – to introduce you to the ideas of how the arts can be used in your particular situation
- Presentation – an in depth look at the benefits of the arts, with visual examples
- Talk: The role of the arts in the cycle of crime, prisons and re-offending – educational and enlightening for larger audiences with less experience of prisons
- Training & Workshops – for people working or wanting to work with the arts in prisons