21. Gussak, D. (2006). The effects of art therapy with prison inmates: A follow-up study. The Arts in Psychotherapy, 33, 188-198.

Author Affiliations: Florida State University
Artforms: Art therapy, drawing, visual arts
Program: NA
Program Description: Visual art therapy program
Program (Study) Location: Medium to maximum security correctional facility, Florida
Study Published: 2006
Participant Type: Adult male inmates aged 21-59
Sample Size: 16
Data Type: Qualitative, Case Study: Pre- and post-survey assessments by mental health counselors; standardized art therapy assessment using the Formal Elements Art Therapy Scale (FEATS), and psychological assessment using the Beck Depression Inventory-Short Form (BDI-II). Volunteers were randomly assigned to either the control group or the experimental group. The control group received no art therapy sessions. The experimental group attended group art therapy sessions over an eight-week period.
Evaluation Focus: Changes in inmate behavior and attitude, including changes in mood, socialization and problem-solving abilities; inmates’ interactions and compliance with prison rules and expectations.

Summary of Impact: Results from the different assessment instruments were mixed. There was a marked improvement in mood as measured by BDI-II, but not as measured by FEATS. No changes in socialization or problem-solving abilities were indicated.

KEYWORDS: adult, art therapy, attitude, behavior, compliance, depression, drawing, mood, problem-solving, socialization


22. Halperin, R., Kessler, S. & Braunschweiger, D. (April 2012). Rehabilitation Through the Arts: Impact on Participants’ Engagement in Educational Programs. The Journal of Correctional Education, 63(1), 6-23.

Author Affiliations: Department of Psychology, Purchase College, SUNY
Artforms: Drama, theater
Program: Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA)
Program Description: RTA was founded in 1996 at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in New York State and now operates programs in theater, dance, creative writing, voice and visual arts in five New York State correctional facilities. In addition to developing inmates’ reading, writing, and leadership skills, RTA claims that participants benefit by being part of a social network (p.10). Since its inception, over 200 inmates have participated in RTA’s Sing Sing program.
Program (Study) Location: Sing Sing Correctional Facility, Ossining, New York Study Published: 2012
Participant Type: Adult male inmates
Sample Size: 116 RTA participants, 118 controls
Data Type: Quantitative: Comparison ( RTA participants) and control group data: entry date, birth date, race, crime category, educational degree at entry, first and second math and reading scores, and educational degrees earned during imprisonment, and enrollment in various educational programs over time.
Evaluation Focus: The purpose of this study was to examine the impact of RTA on inmate participation in voluntary educational programs, and academic degree completion. RTA participants were compared to a sample of incarcerated men matched on age, ethnicity, crime, date of entry Into prison, time served, and earliest release date.

Summary of Impact: The study found that arts programs may motivate those with long sentences to pursue educational degrees. Specifically, based on the experimental and control group findings:
●  57.6% of those who participated in RTA program earned degrees beyond the GED while incarcerated, compared with 28.6% and 39.6% in control groups (p. 14).
●  RTA participants spent about the same proportion of time engaged in GED programs as comparisons, but less time after joining RTA (due to degree attainment) (p. 15).
●  RTA participants who were incarcerated with a high-school diploma spent proportionally more time engaged in college programs, but only after joining RTA , versus the comparison group (p. 15).

KEYWORDS: academic, adult, college, drama, education, GED, Rehabilitation Through the Arts , theater


23. Hart, S. (Ed.). (1983). The arts in prison. New York: Center for Advanced Study in Theater Arts, The City University.

Author Affiliations: Center for Advanced Study in Theatre Arts, Graduate School of the City University of New York
Artforms: Dance, drama, jewelry and miscellaneous arts and crafts, film, music, painting, sculpture, theater, video, writing
Program: The Theater in Prisons Project (TTIPP)
Program Description: From its inception in 1980, TTIPP worked to develop a comprehensive archive concerning arts programs and artist practitioners working with prison inmates and ex-inmates (p. 36). This study was designed to be the first of its kind to provide evidence of the impact of the arts in corrections.
Program (Study) Location: All U.S. states, except Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Massachusetts, Ohio, West Virginia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Study Published: 1983
Participant Type: State and local correctional departments, individual correctional institutions
Sample Size: 88 institutions
Data Type: Survey
Evaluation Focus: Survey questions were designed to establish how much art and what type – specifically theater – was available through performances, workshops and residencies in institutions across the U.S. Questions related to the following areas of inquiry: (1)What programs are available, how did they develop, and how supported; (2) In what ways do the programs continue with the inmate-participant after he or she leaves the prison; and, (3) Are arts programs in correctional facilities perceived as beneficial. The report provides detailed data from survey results from each participating state and agency, including history of programs, funding, types of activities, and attitude towards the arts (p. 23-24).

Summary of Impact:
●  Virtually all respondents viewed the arts programs positively, reporting that they reduced tension within the institution, enhanced interpersonal and vocational skills for inmate and ex-inmate participants and strengthened the participants’ self-confidence and expanded their range of options in dealing with their world, both inside the institution and after release.
●  Evidence of types of arts programs within correctional institutions included: dance, drama, jewelry and miscellaneous arts and crafts, film, music, painting, sculpture, theater, video and writing.
●  Fewer than 10 respondents knew whether inmates continued with arts programs after release.

KEYWORDS: adult, crafts, dance, film, interpersonal skills, jewelry, music, painting, sculpture, self-confidence, tension, theater, The Theater in Prisons Project , video, vocational skills, writing


24. Hassett, R. (n.d.). Lynn-Lowell Statistics : 1992 through March 2002. Changing Lives Through Literature.

Author Affiliations: Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Lowell District Court, Massachusetts
Artforms: Bibliotherapy, literature
Program: Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL), Lynn-Lowell Women’s Program
Program Description: The Lynn-Lowell program, established in 1992, was the first CLTL program for female offenders. Two programs are run per year. Groups meet every other week for 14 weeks (seven sessions) at Middlesex Community College in Lowell, Massachusetts.
Program (Study) Location: Lowell and Lynn, Massachusetts
Participant Type: Adult female probationers aged 19-48 years
Sample Size: 108
Study Published: Unpublished study, data collected 1992 through March 2002 Data Type: Quantitative
Evaluation Focus: Recidivism, criminal activity

Summary of Impact:
●  Reduced recidivism among CLTL participants: 40% of program graduates re-offended versus 48% of non-completers.
●  Types of crimes differed between graduates and non-graduates:
○  29.6% of new offenses committed by graduates were against people, versus 37.5% among non-graduates
○  25.9% of new crimes committed by graduates were property offenses, versus 43.75% among non-graduates.
○  62.9% of graduates violated alcohol/drug laws versus 62% of non-graduates.
○  44.4% of new crimes among graduates were misdemeanors vs 37.5% among non-graduates.

KEYWORDS: adult, bibliotherapy, Changing Lives Through Literature , criminal activity, literature, recidivism


25. Jarjoura, R. G., & Krumholz, S. T. (1998). Combining Bibliotherapy and Positive Role Modeling as an Alternative to Incarceration. Journal of Offender Rehabilitation, 28 (1/2), 127-139.

Author Affiliations: Indiana University (Jarjoura); University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth (Krumholz)
Artforms: Bibliotherapy, literature
Program: Changing Lives Through Literature (CLTL), University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth
Program Description: CLTL provides an alternative to incarceration for repeat, high-risk offenders and “seeks to build self-esteem by enhancing participants’ communication skills, sharpening their analytical skills and providing them with a forum for discussing personal concerns without having to recount personal experiences. Participants selected by the court receive intensive probation, pre-employment/job placement services and meet every other week on a university campus to discuss contemporary literature. The readings and the discussions mirror themes the participants may be dealing with in their own lives, such as violence, masculinity and individual identity. At the conclusion of the bibliotherapeutic portion of the program, local businessmen meet with participants to share their own life experiences and stories of success.
Program (Study) Location: Southeastern Massachusetts
Study Published: 1998
Participant Type: Male adult high-risk probationers
Sample Size: 72 (32 participants, 40 control)
Data Type: Quantitative, Qualitative: Analysis of criminal records Evaluation Focus: Recidivism, individual growth, self-esteem

Summary of Impact:
●  Reconviction rate of 18.75% in study group compared with 45% in control group.
●  Participants self-reported that the program had a long-term positive impact on their lives.

KEYWORDS: adult, attitude, behavior, bibliotherapy, Changing Lives Through Literature , communication, individual growth, literature, reading, recidivism, reconviction, self-confidence, self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, tolerance


26. Kelly, W. R. (n.d.) An Evaluation of the Changing Lives Through Literature Program. Submitted To: Dr. Lawrence Jablecki, Director Brazoria County Community Supervision and Corrections Department.

Author Affiliations: University of Texas
Artforms: Bibliotherapy, literature
Program: Brazoria County Community Supervision and Corrections Department Changing Lives Through Literature ( CLTL) Program
Program Description: The CLTL program in Brazoria County, Texas was adapted from the original Massachusetts program and “uses literature as a vehicle for cognitive and behavioral change.” The Texas program lasts six weeks and consists of weekly, two-hour meetings during which participants engage in facilitated discussion of a reading assignment “focused on the development over time of cognitive skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, as well as self examination, insight, awareness, etc.” Meetings take place on the campus of a local community college. Reading assignments differ by gender; males typically read philosophy such as Plato and Socrates, and females read contemporary gender-targeted works such as Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston.
Program (Study) Location: Brazoria County, Texas
Participant Type: Probationers, Probation Officers, and Judges
Sample Size: 49 Probationers, 8 Probation Officers, 2 Judges
Study Published: n.d.
Data Type: Qualitative: focus groups
Evaluation Focus: Perceptions of C LTL program by former inmates focusing on how CLTL changed or impacted their lives. For Probation Officers and Judges, the focus of the evaluation was on the overall perception of the CLTL program.

Summary of Impact:
●  Respondents’ rating of program and components of program on a 1 to 10 scale (1 = poor, and 10 = excellent):
○  Overall Program: 9.4.
○  Assigned Readings: 8.5.
○  Class Discussions: 9.4.
○  Program Format (location/length): 9.0.
○  Participants: 8.9.
○  Instructor: 9.7.

●  Participants reported:
○  Increased interest and motivation to read and learn.
○  Increased tolerance and self-esteem.
○  A sense of accomplishment.
○  Better control over impulsive behaviors.
○  Increased awareness and understanding of the consequences of their behavior.

KEYWORDS: consequences, impulsive behavior, learning, literature, reading, self-esteem, sense of accomplishment, tolerance


27. Melnick, M. (1984). Skills through drama: The use of professional techniques in the treatment and education of prison and ex-offender populations. Journal of Group Psychotherapy, Psychodrama and Sociometry, 37, 104-117.

Author Affiliations: New York City-based private consultant at time of study, presently at New York State Psychiatric Institute/Columbia University
Artforms: Drama, psychodrama, theater
Program: Skills through Drama
Program Description: The Skills through Drama program employed professional theater techniques to teach reading, writing, grammar and communication skills. Specifically, participants were instructed to:
●  Create an improvisational set-up with a partner
●  Act out the set-up
●  Transcribe one’s own scene
●  Edit the scene
●  Help another student transcribe or edit
●  View another student’s scene
Program (Study) Location: Adult Learning Center, Queens House of Detention Location: Queens, New York
Study Published: 1984
Participant Type: Adult inmates and ex-offenders
Sample Size: 300+
Data Type: Quantitative
●  Pre- and post-participation administration of California Achievement Test
●  Enrollment rates between 1975 and 1976 Fiscal Years
●  Recidivism rates of 1978-79 drama workshop participants seven months after workshop
Evaluation Focus: Participation and effectiveness of the Skills through Drama program related to basic educational skills and outcomes.

Summary of Impact:
●  Number of students participating in GED program more than doubled (from 121 students in 1975 to 349 in 1976) while the total number of student hours spent in the program increased from 22,880 hours in 1975 to 47,376 hours in 1976.
●  69% of participants stayed with the workshop even after it terminated its affiliation with the Adult Learning Center.
●  At the end of the seven months, 7.15% of participants had been convicted on a first charge; 14.30% fled to avoid trial; 7.15% returned to jail on a second post-workshop charge; 71.40% were regularly employed and not charged with a second offense. This is compared with a national average of 85% of those released from prison experiencing rearrest within a year, most of those within the first four months of release.

KEYWORDS: academic achievement, adult, attendance, communication, drama, employment, psychodrama, reading, recidivism, Skills through Drama, theater, writing


28. Messerschmidt, Edward, D. (2017). Change Is Gonna Come: A mixed methods examination of people’s attitudes toward prisoners after experiences with a prison choir. Boston University College of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

Author Affiliations: Boston University
Artforms: Choir, music
Program: Doctoral Dissertation
Program Description: Community-member and prisoner choir
Program (Study) Location: Four Midwestern minimum-security correctional facilities
Participant Type: Court-detained juveniles and adults, both men and women, aged 13-18
Study Published: 2017
Participant Type: Non-incarcerated volunteer singers from four prison choirs; community choir members with no prior prison experience (controls); non-incarcerated adult audience members at a prison choir concert.
Sample Size: 41 non-incarcerated volunteer singers; 19 community controls 78 non-incarcerated audience members
Data Type: Mixed-method-qualitative/quantitative using Attitude Toward Prisoners Scale (ATPS). In part 1 of the study, the volunteer singers completed the ATPS and answered open-ended questions after performing with a joint community-prison choir. The control group completed the ATPS after performing with a non-prison-based choir. In part 2, audience members completed the ATPS before and after attending a community-prison choir concert. They also answered open-ended questions regarding their experience.
Evaluation Focus: “The purpose of the study was to examine the effects of (a) singing with incarcerated choir members and (b) listening to a live prison choir performance on non-incarcerated people, focusing particularly on the effects of such experiences on participants’ attitudes towards prisoners.” 
Research questions were:
● How do the ATPS scores of the volunteer prison choir singers compare to the ATPS scores of the control group? What is the relationship between participation in a prison choir and ATPS scores?
● What relationship if any, is there between the number of concerts the volunteer singers have sung with a prison choir and their ATPS scores?
● What changes, if any, are there between audience members’ pre-test and post-test responses to the ATPS (Melvin et al., 1985)?
● What effects, if any, do volunteer singers and audience members report regarding their experiences with a prison choir?

Summary of Impact: The research found that non-incarcerated people can change their attitudes toward prisoners through experiences with a prison choir. Specific findings include:
● Part 1: A non-significant difference between the ATPS scores of non-incarcerated volunteer prison-choir singers and non-prison-based community choristers; 69.2% of the volunteer prison choir singers reported that their attitudes toward prisoners had grown more positive since joining a prison choir.
● Part 2: ATPS scores of audience members were significantly more positive after attending the prison choir concert.

KEYWORDS: adult, choir, music, singing, social interactions, stigma



29. 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


30. Okelola, Valerie and Irvine, Angela. (2015). Impact Justice: Evaluating the Actor’s [sic] Gang.

Author Affiliations: Impact Justice
Artforms: Theater, Drama
Program: The Actors’ Gang Prison Project
Program Description: The Prison Project is the outreach arm of The Actors’ Gang, the theater troupe founded by actor Tim Robbins. The program conducts at least three eight-week programs each year inside California’s prison system.
Program (Study) Location: Selected California correctional facilities
Study Published: Unpublished research.
Participant Type: Adult inmates, 41% Black, 33% Hispanic, 16% White, 10% “Other”male maximum-security psychiatric inmates, 47% sex offenders, 53% non-sex offenders, mean age 34.5 years
Sample Size: 49
Data Type: Quantitative.
Study Design: This study “analyzed data from the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on individuals who participated in The Actors’ Gang Prison Project between November of 2010 and February of 2015. Impact Justice conducted preliminary analysis to develop a demographic profile of program participants and conducted statistical test to explore changes in the number of disciplinary incidence over time (called ‘115’s).”
Evaluation Focus: Effect on disciplinary infractions among participants.

Summary of Impact: “Results indicate that the mean number of 115 incidences decreases over time. The number of 115 incidents varies among participant (between 0 and 34 incidents) but overall the number of incidents decreases over time. Prior to participation, prisoners that participated in Actor’s [sic] Gang were punished for an average of 5.31 disciplinary incidents. After participating, prisoners participating in Actor’s [sic] Gang were punished for .59 disciplinary incidents. The results illustration an 89% decrease in disciplinary incidents over time.”

KEYWORDS: adult, disciplinary infractions, drama, theater