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Creativity in a restricted regime: a guide for prison staff

Creativity in a restricted regime: a guide for prison staff



Our new guide for prison staff, Creativity in a restricted regime, is now available to read and download.

Access to creative activity is essential for the wellbeing of people in prison, but understanding how to make it possible in the face of Covid-19 restrictions has been a challenge. This guide gives recommendations on how those working in prisons can achieve this, in collaboration with education providers, artists and arts organisations – as restrictions ease and prison regimes begin to change.

“I am delighted to endorse this document, which sets out the reasons why creative arts in custody are now more important than ever and gives practical solutions on developing this vital area of work within prison in spite of Covid-19 restrictions. I know first hand the impact the creative arts can have on those in our care, building hope and self worth, providing meaningful activity, and breaking down barriers to create a safer and more positive environment for all. The evidence is clear: creative arts in prison make a difference, and in my view are a need-to-do, not a nice-to-do. I hope you find the guidance and insight provided here useful, and look forward to seeing the creative arts offer in custody continue to develop throughout Covid-19 and beyond as a key part of our recovery.” – Ralph Lubkowski, Governor of HMP Hewell

The guide has been produced on behalf of the Arts Forum, which aims to strengthen partnership working between the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance and the Ministry of Justice, Her Majesty’s Prison and Probation Service, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and other government departments. The guide includes tips around how creativity can be adapted to different stages of restrictions, examples of arts activities taking place during the pandemic, and suggested approaches prison staff might take to enabling arts activity in prisons.

The distribution of the guide is supported by the Rothschild Foundation, and will be celebrated at a launch event in June – watch this space for more details.

“Prison can be a very dark and lonely place – that’s why it’s important to have creative arts activities in the criminal justice system. During the first lockdown I was given a new weekly show on National Prison Radio called Freeflow. It allowed me to interact with people in prison and continue to advise them on how to stay creative in these very challenging times. I have seen first hand the power creative arts in prison can play in helping guide and motivate those in the darkest of times. So for that reason, I support this document, which shows how arts activities in prison are both possible and necessary, especially over lockdown.” – Brenda Birungi a.k.a. Lady Unchained, poet and National Prison Radio presenter

Image courtesy of Rideout. Image credit: Paul Gent.