Three images from the Koestler Awards
Koestler Trust


The National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice are committed to helping commissioners based in prisons and  community settings  understand and identify how the arts can meet relevant outcomes and objectives. The arts have a long tradition of engaging and inspiring individuals to think about their lives and consider their future differently.

For example  the Justice Data Lab’s Re-Offending Analysis on one of our members, the Prisoners Education Trust, showed that reoffending rates dropped by up to 14% when prisoners had access to grants for art and hobby materials. Overall, the analysis showed that participating in an intervention provided by the Prisoners Education Trust led to a reduction in re-offending of between 5 and 8 percentage points. More on the findings

We provide guidance for our members on how to collect evidence to support offender outcomes – such as re-offending rates and employability, demonstrating value for money and how arts can support learning and health and wellbeing, so that the impact of the commissioned intervention can be effectively measured.

“Positive feedback is fantastic for them (prisoners)… I have to justify these programmes to the Director General of the prison service, but if I thought that it was just a jolly for the prisoners, I wouldn’t be interested.” 
HMP Wandsworth’s Governor, Ian Mulholland, The Guardian 2007

I’m a commissioner, how can I utilise the evidence library?

The Evidence Library was established in 2012 to house the key research and evaluation documents on the impact of arts-based projects, programmes and interventions within the Criminal Justice System. If you are a commissioner, you can:

  • Search for recognised and independently evaluated arts organisations
  • Find evaluated arts-based interventions in specific settings or places
  • Discover evidence that clearly connects the arts to securing better outcomes for offenders and ex-offenders

How do I commission a member?

You can search our membership list, which is made up of practitioners and organisations running arts interventions in the Criminal Justice System. You can use the search function to narrow down results based on location, art form, services and setting.  Alternatively, for more bespoke advice, please contact Jessica Plant.*

*We are not responsible for monitoring the practice of any members of the National Alliance for Arts in Criminal Justice so cannot take responsibility for the quality of their work.