Can Art Inspire Prisoners to Change?

Here’s a nice video report on prison arts programs in the UK, and, you now know, the standard arguments for arts participation and positive behavioral outcomes. What, according to GIFTS OF THE MUSE, is the weakness of the argument?

Can Art Inspire Prisoners to Change?


About jchall1960

I'm the instructor for FA 200, Introduction to the Arts at the University of Alabama
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9 Responses to Can Art Inspire Prisoners to Change?

  1. Nure Kassas says:

    I think a lot of people who are in prison are there because they are misguided, grew up in broken homes, or just had no one to help them when they needed it. The arts can give prisoners the chance to become part of a community, while at the same time, giving them an emotional outlet. I think it’s important for prisoners to feel like they belong to something, and it is important to show them that they can do good, and to give them that opportunity to do good and prove that they can change.

  2. I agree with the comment above, I think that art can survive as a personal escape for prisoners. However I do not believe that people can really truly change. Art can simply help people in jail deal with things going on in their life, and provide some sort of therapy for them.

  3. srlewis3 says:

    Gifts of a Muse states this argument’s weaknesses are the methodologies used, the selective nature of the populations studied,and failure to specify how arts participation generates the effects claimed. All of which could be justified arguments, but the fact that there has been so many cases where arts have been proven to have positive effects on people’s personalities makes me wonder do most scientists really believes that these are great arguments or just refuse to accept that arts are fundamental. Specifically, the last argument about not being able to prove how it causes the possitive effect or implying that the effects may be a coincidence, does not seem like a strong argument. It’s as if the scientists know that the theory of arts being beneficial to a person’s personality, but simply refuses to accept it. And I really don’t think they are going to stop denying the evidence any time soon.

  4. I agree that art has profound effects on people. When people are imprisoned they are cut off from society and most resort to some kind of pasttime. Many argue that prison should be more for rehabilation than a punishment. That while someone is imprisoned they should be taught other ways to live besides the lifestyle that got them imprisoned in the first place. Some prisoners turn to religion, some focus on a job, others may turn to art. So indeed just like faith and a occupation, art can inspire a prisoner. One may find out they really have a talent for art when they have nothing else to do but zone in on that talent, rather than be out on the streets continuing a life of crime. And once these prisoners are released, instead of being readmitted to prison for more crime they resort to that hobby or faith that they discovered in prison.

  5. rrhare says:

    I have several opinions on this topic. First I believe that Art has the potential to change a persons life, but I also believe that the person has to have a passion for them that drives them to change, and I dont see many prisoners having that passion. However, I do think that art is a great way to ease prisoners back into society. An understanding for the Arts and an appreciation of them develops a more well rounded person, and most people in jail are not very well rounded. In the end I don’t see how art could hurt any prisoners chances of becoming a better person.

  6. klfoto says:

    I think art is a great way to entertain prisoners. It seems like it would be a way of getting their mind of their situation and “escaping” for a little bit.

  7. wnichols1993 says:

    I definitely think art can inspire anyone to change, most prisoners are rebels who have been told what to do all of their life or their hobbies have been based around the same things. Art has a number of different aspects about it, because there are so many things anything is possible, even change.

  8. ftcoleman says:

    Art can be used as a hobby. Many prisoners find hobbies or things to do during their time in jail. Art can allow one to explore his or her capabilities that are unknown and can be an outlet. Art should definitely be used to keep the morale and creativity of certain prisoners going.

  9. fa200fall2011mollyfeltus says:

    I agree with the comment above. Art can inspire you which can cause you to change and better yourself. I think it is a good way to entertain prisoners and definitely maybe help them.

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