The arts have played a role in the rehabilitation of offenders. From painting to acting, inmates have turned around their lives, becoming productive citizens after release from prison. Even the violence of the 1970s didn’t stop the state from trying to achieve this goal. This is the fourth part in a series delving deeper into the department’s rehabilitative efforts.
Musically inclined inmates are turning their talents to rehabilitative efforts at Pleasant Valley State Prison (PVSP). Arts Music Program has recently been busy entertaining inmates, staff and guests at PVSP. This group of musicians recently made an appearance at PVSP’s Adult School Graduation where they performed original scores for the audience as well as some covers.
In 1951, a young man named Alfredo Santos was busted for dealing heroin, earning him a stint at San Quentin State Prison. Santos had always shown an affinity for art so when the prison held an art contest, he was selected to improve the dining hall. Thus, his long artistic career was born. In 1953, he started painting what would eventually become a well-known collection of 100-foot murals.
Today’s rehabilitative efforts in the state prison system can be traced back to the early days of the department. More than a century ago, visionary wardens pushed for job training, education and family engagement so former inmates could reintegrate back into society after being released from prison. Like the definition of visionary, these leaders implemented original ideas and planned the future with “imagination or wisdom.” This series takes a closer look at some of these wardens and their contributions to shaping what would become today’s CDCR. This is the third part in the series.
The push for rehabilitation is nothing new in CDCR. Around 1950, it was even the subject of a short documentary at San Quentin. CDCR cracks open this video time capsule to revisit the almost seven decades ago.