Arts-In-Corrections: County Jails Project
California Lawyers for the Arts became involved in advocacy to restore California’s stellar Arts-in-Corrections programs in 2011, just as the US Supreme Court was requiring the state to reduce severe overcrowding in the state’s prisons. In addition to having the nation’s largest state prison population, California also claimed one of the highest recidivism rates in the country at nearly 70%. We worked actively with Dr. Larry Brewster of the University of San Francisco and the William James Association to conduct a collaborative demonstration project in several state prisons that involved pre and post surveys of the students. Based on the evidence we gathered at that time, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) was persuaded to provide the California Arts Council with a $2.5 million contract in 2014 for a two-year pilot project providing arts programs in up to 19 state prisons.
Our current project, which was funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Quentin Hancock Fund and the Wallace A. Gerbode Foundation, brings a new level of awareness and appreciation for the value of similarly effective arts programming in county jails. The goal of this phase of the project was to measure the behavioral and attitudinal changes experienced by the participants and the impact on their lives through surveys administered at the end of sequential art classes.
In collaboration with art organizations in Santa Cruz, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Fresno and Sacramento Counties, we evaluated the results of the 12 to 18-week art classes attended by a total of 64 men. At the end of each program, the participants completed surveys that were designed by Dr. Larry Brewster of the University of San Francisco School of Public Administration. The art classes were held in Santa Cruz Main Jail, San Francisco County Jail - San Bruno Complex, MCJ Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, Fresno County Jail and Sacramento County Jail - Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center. [Introduction p. 1]
This report shares the results of evluation of 12 to 18 week art classes attended by 64 men hel in the Santa Cruz Main Jail, San Francisco County Jail - San Bruno Complex, MCJ Twin Towers Correctional Facility in Los Angeles, Fresno County Jail and Sacramento County Jail - Rio Cosumnes Correctional Center.