Cohen, M.L. (2012). ‘Safe Havens’: The Formation and Practice of Prison Choirs in the US. In Cheliotis, L. K. (Ed.) The Arts of Imprisonment: Control, Resistance and Empowerment. Surrey, UK: Ashgate.
Author Affiliations: University of Iowa
Artforms: choir, music, singing
Program Description: Community member and prison choir
Program (Study) Location: Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota
Participant Type: Adult male inmates, volunteer choir conductors, audience members
Sample Size: 7 volunteer prison-choir conductors, 35 audience members, unspecified number of male inmates.
Study Published: 2012
Data Type: Quantitative, Qualitative: Multiple case studies using open-ended questionnaires completed by seven prison choir conductors; observations of rehearsals and performances; informal interviews with inmates; data from an online survey completed by 35 audience members; field notes, and researcher reflections. Open coding, axial coding, and selective coding were used to analyze data.
Evaluation Focus: Perceived impact of five U.S. male prison choirs
Summary of Impact: In addition to developing choral singing skills such as body alignment, breath management, tonal placement and diction, the choral experiences provided a means for inmates to develop self esteem, promote positive social interactions, and increase sense of group responsibility.
KEYWORDS: adult, choir, group responsibility, music, self-esteem, singing, social interactions