THE ROLE OF THE ARTS WITHIN THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM
“Art is an amazingly powerful way of engaging offenders to find new directions in life. No one knows more about this than Angela Findlay, a passionate and highly skilled artist with years of experience in prisons. The talks that Angela gives about her work – alive with illustrations, humour and stories – are an inspiration.”
Tim Robertson, Former Director, Koestler Arts – Arts by Offenders
I'VE BEEN INTO MANY PRISONS AND THE MAIN THING THEY ALL HAVE IN COMMON IS WASTE. WASTE OF TIME WASTE OF OPPORTUNITY WASTE OF HUMAN POTENTIAL
When it comes to prison reform there will be few people who have clearer insights into the issues than Angela. Having worked as an artist in prisons and YOIs both in England and Germany over two decades, she has not only helped hundreds of prisoners’ access skills and potential they had not been aware of, but, in Germany, she also experienced the increased benefits of working in a progressive system in which greater governor autonomy and support for the arts contributed to the rehabilitation of prisoners.
For many participants, an art project serves as a stepping-stone to further education or employment. This was evident in her Learning to Learn through the Arts Scheme founded and run by Angela in her role as Arts Coordinator to Koestler Arts between 2002-06. Arts of all disciplines help raise self-esteem, the single biggest barrier to learning. They also inspire people to become interested in their own abilities, teach them important soft skills such as deferred gratification, working in a team, problem solving as well as offering a mirror to their thoughts, emotions and actions.
Angela’s restorative approach expands the broader concept of ‘Art in Prison’ to encompass targeted and creative techniques designed to address the causes of (re-)offending. The positive, humanising effects of her methods, both on the prison environment and relationships between prisoners and staff, have been acknowledged by prison governors, staff, psychologists, teachers and prisoners alike as playing an important role in the process of desistance.
“Thank you for understanding us. You helped me to change.” - Participant in art project
Contact Angela to discuss your requirements