Making Art, Making a Difference

Arts in Corrections programs are designed designed to have a positive impact on the behavior and attitudes of people in incarceration, promoting interpersonal and social transformation both inside and outside of the boundaries of their institutions.

Benefits include:

• Reducing inmate-staff conflict

• Strengthening family relationships

• Increasing critical thinking

• Developing real-world job skills

• Building positive relationships

• Encouraging healthy behaviors

• Bridging cultural differences

• Improving inmate relations



The Prison Arts Resource Project: An Annotated Bibliography

National Endowment for the Arts
Amanda Gardner, Ph.D. Lori L. Hager, Ph.D., University of Oregon Grady Hillman, Southwestern Correctional Arts Network

The Prison Arts Resource Project (PARP) is an annotated bibliography of evidence-based studies evaluating the impact of arts programs in U.S. correctional settings. Each of the 48 entries includes information about the arts program as well as the study research goals, methods and a summary of findings. Adult offender and juvenile offender programs are identified. While not an exhaustive list, this collection of annotated impact studies represent publicly available evidence that can be accessed by individuals and organizations seeking to develop their own evaluation or research, or who are seeking evidence of impact for the purposes of program development and policy improvement. More information →


in their own words

Drama Therapy Saved My Life

LeMar “Maverick” Harrison
returned citizen and former Shakespeare actor at San Quentin State Prison

LeMar Harrison, or “Maverick” as he identifies himself, is a musician, lyricist, actor, and father.  Throughout the last 6 years, he has been a regular member of Marin Shakespeare Company’s Shakespeare class at San Quentin State Prison. He was granted parole in July of 2018, after serving 22 years of a 25-to-Life sentence. Though busy with an ongoing search for regular employment and a firm foundation for his life outside of prison, Maverick was kind enough to offer his time to Marin Shakespeare Company for an interview. The conversation covered Maverick’s crime, conviction, his time in California prisons, and his recent parole. Much of the discussion focused on the most recent five years of his incarceration, his involvement with the Shakespeare program at San Quentin, and his current work to establish his new life in the community. This interview was conducted on Friday, October 5, 2018.  Full interview →