The beautiful artwork adorning the walls of Pelican Bay State Prison (PBSP) represents not only the artistic talent of its creators, but also the changes that have swept through California’s state prisons. In what used to be the Security Housing Unit (SHU), a maximum-security facility at the Crescent City prison, art, rehabilitative programs and reentry readiness are now the focus. In 2017, CDCR converted nearly 500 SHU cells into Level II housing, creating a setting suitable for lower-custody incarcerated people to live and program.
It is estimated that over 3.5 million employers participated in the annual Take Our Daughters & Sons to Work Day on April 25, including at CDCR. The celebration is intended to introduce girls and boys across the county to the workplace and empower them to dream without gender limitations and think imaginatively about their family, work, and community lives. At CDCR institutions across the state, children participated in a variety of activities throughout the day.
Meet Carol Newborg, program manager for the San Quentin Prison Arts Project, a William James Association Arts in Corrections program that offers robust arts instruction inside the walls of San Quentin State Prison. Newborg has been teaching art in prisons for nearly 40 years, and shared with Inside CDCR how art programs help incarcerated people not only express themselves in a positive way, but can also inspire them to explore other avenues of rehabilitation.