Arts-in-Corrections, correctional arts, evidence-based research


The correctional arts field is strong on supporting anecdotes but light on evidence-based research. In other words, it has more stories than numbers. One exception is the long-running California Arts-in-Corrections program. Not only does AIC have more studies demonstrating benefit, all but one of those studies were conducted by Dr. Larry Brewster, currently of the University of San Francisco. This case study tells the story of how that body of research came to exist. It juxtaposes the importance of having evidence-based research on correctional arts programs with the challenges of conducting such research. Readers will gain an understanding of how correctional arts can benefit rehabilitation and re-entry initiatives for prisoners as well as how rigorous research can aid that effort. This article lays the groundwork for discussion on how an important avenue for rehabilitation and re-entry can be developed by making sure the field has numbers to match the stories.

Author Bio

Amanda Gardner, Ph.D., is the co-author of the Prison Arts Resource Project, the first annotated bibliography of evidence-based research into U.S. correctional arts programs. She is also a community artist, having facilitated arts workshops for people experiencing homelessness, incarceration and/or mental illness.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


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