Prisoners are often presented as either wastrels or monsters in the media. But giving them the opportunity to produce their own art enables them to demonstrate that they are just as human as the rest of us.
Three speakers from the Arts Alliance were adamant that serious involvement in art, theatre, dance and creative writing provides offenders with a form of education and allows them to build up self-esteem, despite any lack of literacy and numerical skills.
They explained in detail how limiting the creativity and expression of prisoners would simply exacerbate the problem. This makes it far more likely that offenders return to prison soon after their release.
The idea of art in prison was something I’ve never considered before. This lecture certainly gave me food for thought.
S. M. Knight