Moller, L. (2011). Project Slam: Rehabilitation through Theater at Sing Sing Correctional Facility. The International Journal of the Arts in Society, 5(5), 9-30.
Author Affiliations: John Jay College of Criminal Justice, New York, NY
Artforms: Drama, theater
Program: Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA).
Program Description: RTA conducts theater, dance, creative writing, voice and visual art programs in five New York State prisons. The theater component consists of two productions mounted each year, one original play written by an inmate and one established play. Plays are performed for the inmate population as full-scale productions complete with costumes, lighting, and set, with roughly 400 inmates in attendance at each performance (p.14).
Program (Study) Location: Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Ossining, New York
Study Published: 2011
Participant Type: Adult male inmates
Sample Size: 65 (36 participants, 29 control)
Data Type: Quantitative: Coping Responses Inventory, Adult Form Manual, and the State-Trait Anger Expression Inventory
Evaluation Focus: The study examined the impact of RTA on the attitudes and behavior of inmate participants.
Summary of Impact:
Findings suggested that:
● The longer the inmate was in the RTA program, the fewer violations he committed.
● RTA participation was associated with a significant decrease in frequency and severity of infractions, as reflected in institutional records (p.23).
● RTA participants had security classifications lowered more often, and they participated in more programs through the duration of the study.
● The amount of time inmates were active in RTA was correlated with both negative and positive outcomes.
○ A longer period of participation predicted a higher level of social responsibility.
○ Those who participated intensively in RTA had higher positive-coping scores at both pre- and post-test points; however, the differences were not statistically significant.
○ Increases in positive-coping scores approached significance for inmateswho participated less intensively in the program and for the control group.
KEYWORDS: adult, anger, coping skills, disciplinary infractions, discipline, drama, Rehabilitation Through the Arts, rules violations, social responsibility, theater, violence