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Arts in Corrections

A student at Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center draws during an arts class in the fall of 2016.Arts Education staff worked with Friends of the Arts Commission and California Lawyers for the Arts (CLA) to administer CLA’s Arts-in-Corrections Pilot Project at the Sacramento County Sheriff's Department's Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. The project was part of a two-year, state-wide pilot project to provide arts programming to incarcerated populations in order to measure any changes in the inmates’ behavior or attitudes, as well as the overall impact of a series of sequential art classes on the lives of the participants. CLA recently published a report on the pilot project. A few of the impacts noted in the report include:

  • Every participant looked forward to their art classes more than any other activity offered to them in jail.
  • 98% of participants felt better about themselves because of the program.
  • Over two-thirds of participants said the art classes helped them to better communicate with others.
  • 92% of participants reported that they were better able to express their emotions as a result of the art classes.

Participants identified several positive changes made because of the arts program, including treating people with [increased] respect, learning people skills, and feeling more positive and confident. When asked what they would change about the arts program, several simply asked for more; more classes, more hours, more arts.

Read the full report here.