Worrall J., & Koines, M. (1978). Project CULTURE. Alexandria, VA: American Correctional Association.
Author Affiliations: American Correctional Association
Artforms: Arts and crafts, ceramics, chorus, clowning, creative writing, dance, design, drama, drawing, drums, guitar, leather, macrame, movement, music, oil painting, piano, sculpture, sketching, string art, theater, visual arts, weaving, woodburning, wood-carving
Program: Project CULTURE
Program Description: Project CULTURE (Creative Use of Leisure Time Under Restrictive Environments) was the first comprehensive national program of leisure-time activities inside correctional facilities. Twenty-one projects were implemented at 54 sites across the U.S. Four programs were included in the evaluation:
● California Institution for Women at Fontera: A theater workshop provided by the Los Angeles-based non-profit organization Artists in Prison and Other Places, Inc. (AIPOP) included writing, dance and theater components and culminated in an original theater piece created and performed inside the institution before an audience of more than 1,000 community members. The final production involved 28 inmates in varying capacities. Participants received college credit in dance, creative Writing and theater production through LaVerne College in LaVerne, California.
● The New Jersey Correctional Institution for Women program included creative writing, dance, music/chorus, music/movement/theater, art program and a clown workshop
● The Sheridan Correctional Center Project CULTURE program was operated by Illinois Valley Community College (IVCC). A part-time arts-and-crafts instructor taught fourteen six-week mini-courses focusing on nine media: leather, oil painting, drawing and sketching, string art, macrame, wood-carving, woodburning, weaving and ceramics. A part-time music instructor taught four 10- or 11-week mini-courses including lessons on the electric and acoustic guitar, drums and piano. Participants displayed their arts-and-crafts projects
● Oklahoma Prison Arts Program: Three-month workshops were offered in leather, writing, drawing, painting, design, sculpture, drama and opera. Participants were involved in performances and exhibits.
Program (Study) Location: Evaluations were conducted at the following four facilities:
● California Institution for Women at Fontera, (program administered by Artists in Prison and Other Places, Inc.)
● New Jersey Correctional Institution for Women (CIW), Clinton, New Jersey
● Sheridan Correctional Center, Sheridan Illinois (program administered by Illinois Valley Community College)
● Oklahoma Prison Arts Program in five state institutions: McAlester, Granite, McLeod, Quachita and Strongtown (program administered by the Oklahoma Arts and Humanities Council)
Study Published: 1978
Participant Type: Adult male and female inmates
Sample Size: 5000+
Data Type: Quantitative, Qualitative: Self-evaluations of individual projects conducted by individual contractors; national evaluation conducted by an independent evaluator; pre- and post-program incident rates; interviews with inmates, artists and correctional officials.
● California Institution for Women: discipline, commitment, creative self-expression, self-worth and sense of accomplishment, cooperation
● New Jersey Correctional Institution for Women: self-worth,self-motivation, release of emotions, positive peer group interaction, positive communication between staff and offenders
● Sheridan Correctional Center: cognition, attendance, self-concept, project completion, incident rates
● Oklahoma Prison Arts Program: Incident reports; self-respect, writing, interpretation, vocabulary, listening, reasoning, communication and critical analysis skills; self-respect
Summary of Impact:
● National Results:
○ 61.4% program completion rate (p. 6).
○ Only 16.8% of participants dropped out or were removed for poor behavior or attendance (p. 6).
○ Reduced tension levels.
○ Incident rates reduced between 54% and 100% depending on the location (p. 7).
○ Involvement of female offenders.
○ Greater community awareness of offenders.
○ Increased self-worth on part of participants.
● California Institution for Women:
○ Increased discipline, commitment, creative self-expression, self-worth and sense of accomplishment.
○ Cooperation between artists and California Institute for Women staff.
○ Increased self-worth and respect for others.
○ Negative feelings towards staff and community became positive.
○ Increased respect of correctional staff towards inmates.
○ No behavior problems during the workshops.
○ Incident reports of incorrigible inmates markedly decreased after enrollment.
● Sheridan Correctional Center:
○ Participants scored higher than anticipated on cognition tests.
○ Music students exceeded the objective of 80% by 2.2%, arts and crafts students by 14% (p. 13).
○ 82% program completion rate (p. 13).
○ Improved self-concept as measured by skill acquisition, completion of projects and statistically significant results on the Tennessee Self-Concept inventory.
○ Arts projects were displayed through few were sold (because participants wanted to keep them).○ Individual educational plans for each student were developed.
○ Incident rates declined from 2.4 per year per inmate prior to Project CULTURE to 1.2 per year (p. 13).
● Oklahoma Prison Arts Program:
○ Original program objectives achieved at 88% level (p. 15).
○ Drop in behavioral infractions in women’s unit from 90% to 57% during program participation [as cited in Hillman, G. (Spring/Summer 1994). Kerouac’s Town, Dickens and Prison Art. Texas Journal of Ideas, History and Culture , 16(2), p. 27].
○ Development of skills including but not limited to writing, interpretation, vocabulary, listening, reasoning, communication, critical analysis and publishing processes.
○ Increased positive verbal interaction among class and staff.
○ Increase in participant self-respect and subsequent enhancement of general institution atmosphere.
KEYWORDS: adult, arts and crafts, behavior, ceramics, chorus, clowning, commitment, community, creative writing, dance, design, discipline, drama, drawing, drums, guitar, incident rates, leather, macrame, movement, music, oil painting, piano, Project CULTURE, sculpture, self-respect, self-worth, sense of achievement, sketching, string art, theater, visual arts, weaving, woodburning, wood-carving