Posts Tagged ‘arts’

Where’s the Music?

Posted: April 29, 2012 by Ed Griffin in Prison, Reform
Tags: , , , , , ,

musicFamous quotes, university courses, the example of business all tell us that the arts are therapeutic. At the cancer centre that I go to, there’s soft music in the background. A volunteer wanders the various floors with her shih-tzu dog for people to pat and admire. Art made by cancer patients fills every floor, in addition to beautiful and expressive paintings by professional artists.

In prison – nothing. No music in the halls, no music in the elevators (actually, no elevators), no inmate art on the walls, no drama programs, no art classes, no theatre, no band, no woodworking, no pets, no anything. And most of all no music.

Yes we’ve managed to keep a few writing programs going in three federal prisons in our area, but nothing in two of the biggest prisons. And the system does little to help.

Prison officials believe in programs, angry management, substance abuse etc. These programs have value, but they are not the whole picture. The arts are the way into some people’s souls. Programs are forced on the inmates – they do not participate in deciding what programs they need, so from the beginning their attitude is not the best. And there’s some ass-covering going on for the prison system. “Well, right here in the notes on April something, Instructor X told Mr. Y not to commit break and enter, so if he ever does it when he’s released, don’t blame the prison system.”

prisonPut the arts back in prison. I’ve seen men find themselves through writing. Music works, the arts work.

How can we ordinary citizens help?

 

Images courtesy of:

  • bob-lee.ca