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Keywords

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

Abstract

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

References

Brewster, L. (1983). An evaluation of the arts-in-corrections program of the California department of corrections. Santa Cruz, CA: William James Association.

Brewster, L. (2010). The California arts-in-corrections music programme: A qualitative study. International Journal of Community Music, 3(1), 33-46.

Brewster, L. (2010). A qualitative study of the California arts-in-corrections program. Santa Cruz, CA: William James Association.

Brewster, L. (2012). A qualitative study of the California arts-in-corrections program. Santa Cruz, CA: William James Association.

Brewster, L. (2014). The impact of prison arts programs on inmate attitudes and behavior: A quantitative evaluation. Justice Policy Journal, 11(4).

California Department of Corrections (n.d.). Arts-in-corrections research synopsis on parole outcomes for participants paroled December 1980-February 1987. Santa Cruz, CA: William James Association.

California Innocence Project. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://californiainnocenceproject.org/issues-we-face/recidivism-rates/

California Lawyers for the Arts. (2016, revised 2019). Arts in corrections county jails project. https://www.calawyersforthearts.org/resources/Documents/cla.countyjailsprojectreport.revisedapril2018.pdf

Gardner, A., Hager, L., Hillman, G. (2014, revised 2019). Prison Arts Resource Project.

Justice Arts Coalition: Programs. (n.d.). Retrieved from: https://thejusticeartscoalition.org/programs/

Neill, J.T. (2008). Enhancing life effectiveness: The impacts of outdoor education programs. Retrieved from: https://researchdirect.westernsydney.edu.au/islandora/object/uws:6441

William James Association Prison Arts Program. (n.d.) Retrieved from: http://williamjamesassociation.org/prison_arts/

Williams, R.M. (2003). Teaching the arts behind bars. Boston: Northeastern University Press.

YouthARTS Development Project (1998). YouthARTS handbook: Arts programs for youth at risk.

First Page

194

Last Page

200

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