Prison Arts Resource Project: An Annotated Bibliography

Resource Details
Publication Date: 
May 2014
Amanda Gardner, Ph.D., Lori L. Hager Ph.D., and Grady Hillman
National Endowment for the Arts
Number of Pages: 

In response to the NEA’s call to identify and create data sources in the arts, the Prison Arts Resource Project (PARP) compiles resources on how the arts work in correctional settings and how they impact the lives of inmates, their families, and their communities.

The Prison Arts Resource Project provides detailed information on 48 studies that examine the impact of prison arts programs on individuals, communities and institutions in the U.S. The studies included in the PARP provide evidence of outcomes such as reductions in recidivism, improvements in participants' confidence and community skills, and cost-benefit analyses.

For example, Brewster's (1983) seminal report of the California Arts-in-Corrections Program found $228,522 in measurable social benefits and up to 80% fewer disciplinary infractions among participants. Brewster's 2014 evaluation of arts programs at four California correctional facilities found a 61% reduction in disciplinary infractions as well as improved confidence and social relations among program participants.

The PARP spans four decades of prison arts in America, and reflects the breadth of prison arts experiences. The art forms represented in the impact studies include prison programs in music, dance, visual arts, creative writing, theater, as well as bibliotherapy. The annotations are divided between adult and juvenile prison arts programs, and each entry includes program information, methodology and summary of impact. All entries in the PARP include full bibliographic references, and hyperlinks where available.

For more information, email the authors:
Dr. Amanda Gardner:
Dr. Lori L. Hager:
Grady Hillman:

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