Arts in prison: why cut our chance to create crime-free futures?
Arts bodies with expertise in criminal justice are facing closure – we must build the case for the lasting impact of their work.
The arts are easily caricatured as a fluffy non-essential or, worse still, an unmerited luxury, especially when taking place in a prison or a probation setting. But a growing body of evidence suggests they can have a significant impact on offenders’ lives, particularly in helping them move away from crime.”
On 25 November, the Guardian Culture Professionals Network covered the NCJAA’s research into arts and desistance; ‘Re-Imagining Futures.’ Tim Robertson, former Chair of the Alliance and former Chief Executive of the Koestler Trust, spoke about how the report “emphasises the importance on qualitative research methodology – that’s narrative based evidence to you or me – in capturing the subtle yet transformative power of the art.
As we witness the largest restructure of criminal justice services for more than a decade, the arts needs to work collaboratively with the Ministry of Justice to keep these important and successful interventions thriving, so they can continue to change the lives of offenders, society and culture in the long term.”
Image courtesy of Prisoners’ Education Trust (c) Rebecca Radmore