Evaluation Resources

The following references present information on program implementation as well as methodologies to effectively evaluate the impact of prison arts programs. These may serve to guide future researchers when studying how and how well prison arts programs work. They may also aid in the design and implementation of future programs.


Balfour, M. and Poole, L. (1998). Evaluating Theater in Prisons and Probation. In Thompson, J. (Ed) Prison theater: Perspectives and Practices. London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, p. 217-230.

Argues for the benefits and necessity of evaluating the effectiveness of arts in prison and probation. Presents theories and methodologies of evaluation.

Hillman, Grady (2000). Evaluation, Advocacy and Sustainability in Arts Programs for Juvenile Offenders in Detention and Corrections: A Guide to Promising Practices. Washington, D.C.: Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention and National Endowment for the Arts, p. 23-25.

“Advocacy and evaluation activities that generate program recognition are critical components both to community acceptance and to the financial sustainability of juvenile justice arts programs” (p. 23).

Miller, Jerry and Rowe, William S. (Winter 2009). Cracking the Black Box: What Makes An Arts Intervention Program Work? Best Practices in Mental Health , 5(1), 52-64.

A review of “the limited literature on arts programming to identify a core set of practices that may be linked to positive outcomes [for arts programming for at-risk youth]. A template that identifies key components was developed to guide program implementation as well as future research” (p. 52).

Ploumis-Devick, E. (2011). Foreword in Shailor, J. (Ed.) Performing New Lives: Prison Theater . London and Philadelphia: Jessica Kingsley Publishers, p. 7-15.

Identifies three essential elements of effective arts-based programs as a mutually beneficial partnership with correctional professions; replicable and compatible program architecture; result-focused programming and implementation consistency (p. 7).

Williams, R.M. (2003). Evaluating Your Arts-in-Corrections Program” in Williams. Teaching the Arts Behind Bars . Boston: Northeastern University Press, p. 167-180.

Why evaluation is important, how to plan for an evaluation, what to look for when hiring an external evaluator, what to expect in a final report, and a way to do your own evaluation (p. 167).

YouthARTS Development Project (1998). Evaluation. In YouthARTS Handbook: Arts Programs for Youth At Risk. Americans for the Arts, p. 123-177.

How to conduct your own process and outcome evaluation, benefits and challenges of a well-planned program evaluation, a step-by-step approach for evaluating arts program outcomes and other best practices from the field.