Inmates participate in a hip-hop dance class at Ironwood State Prison led by instructor Cesar Martinez. Photo by Peter Merts.

Arts in Corrections contracts awarded for fourth year

By OPEC staff

The California Arts Council (CAC) has awarded new contracts to 12 arts organizations providing rehabilitative services to California inmates through Arts in Corrections (AIC). Through a partnership of CAC and CDCR, arts programming now reaches all 35 state adult correctional institutions – a significant increase from the 20 institutions served by the program in the previous fiscal year.

Administered by CAC, the program enhances rehabilitative goals, improves the safety and environment of state prisons and combats recidivism. Services provided span the full spectrum of art disciplines, with organizations offering instruction in theater, guitar, dance, creative writing and Native American beadwork, among many others.

“The state’s continued support of Arts in Corrections is indicative of the positive change happening throughout California’s prisons,” said CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan. “We are proud to partner with the California Arts Council to provide these life-changing programs that promote positive expression while also guiding offenders to deeper understanding of their emotions and choices.”

AIC is made possible by funding from the Division of Rehabilitative Programs at CDCR. Since the program’s re-launch in 2013, CDCR’s investment has increased from $2.5 million in the first two years to an $8 million commitment. California’s AIC program has become internationally renowned for its high-impact, innovative approach to addressing the state’s critical public safety needs and rehabilitative priorities through the arts.

“It is a watershed moment to bring Arts in Corrections programming to all of California’s state adult institutions, building upon the momentum of its success,” said Ayanna Kiburi, Interim CAC Director. “Inmates have the opportunity to work with incredible California artists and arts organizations to find the power to effect change through creative expression – to change how they interact with others, how they see themselves, and the overall trajectory of their lives.”

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