Soape, E., Barlow, C., Gussak, D., Brown, J. and Schubarth, A. (2021). Creative IDEA: Introducing a Statewide Art Therapy in Prisons Program. International Journal of Offender
Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 1-18.
Author Affiliations: Florida State University and Florida Department of Corrections, Tallahassee
Artforms: Art therapy, drawing, visual arts
Program: Florida State University/Florida Department of Corrections Art Therapy in Prisons Program
Program Description: Art therapy services for young inmates with emotional and behavioral disabilities to help them overcome educational struggles
Program (Study) Location: Two prisons in North Florida and two in Central Florida
Study Published: May 11, 2021
Participant Type: Male and female juvenile offenders
Sample Size: 64
Data Type: The original research was designed as a descriptive and qualitative inquiry of offenders’ participation, progress notes from art therapists, semi-structured interviews with institutional personnel and disciplinary reports
Evaluation Focus: The original study aimed to assess number of disciplinary referrals, time spent in solitary, attendance at academic services, change in mood, focus, locus of control, problem solving and socialization. The pandemic necessitated changes to a “mental health triage” model wherein the program and research goals pivoted to decreasing anxiety and fear caused by the uncertainty of the pandemic; improving frustration and anger management; and facilitating socialization and connection with people outside all through provision of remote art therapy services via distributed and collected workbooks
Summary of Impact: Due to Covid-19, the researchers could not determine the effectiveness of the program in reducing disciplinary reports and time in seclusion or the ability of participants to focus on educational programming. Instead, participant feedback indicated that participants did find some relief from anxiety, fear and extended boredom.
KEYWORDS: academic, anxiety, art therapy, Covid-19, drawing, fear, juvenile, pandemic, visual arts