Inmate involvement in prison arts programs, art-based projects, workshops or exhibitions, are statistically proven to reduce recidivism and may create opportunity for community enrichment. Through such prison arts programs which promote cathartic self-reflection, sentenced time can prove to be constructive and mutually beneficial for former law breakers and the community they initially committed offense against. However, negative connotations of prisoners and the experience of prison result in a lack of community support for these programs. As an attempt to increase support for prison arts programs nationwide, an emphasis on enlisting the community as partners in these programs is essential.
Community partners provide
1) Sustainability-Such art programs when state budgets cannot cover program costs.
2) Unity-Encourages a wider community composed of people from diverse backgrounds
Just Write NM can be considered as such a program. Just Write NM is a burgeoning non-profit organization located in Albuquerque, NM. Through its website (NoWrongJustWrite.org) that hosts text, audio and video from writers and performing artists across the nation, including inmates in Bernalillo County Jail, Just Write is a project that intends to use art as a way to “build community” amongst disconnected populations.
Increase awareness of Just Write NM, which may potentially result in increased participation from the community as well as funding.
One Measurable Objective to Achieve this Goal
Increase traffic to the blog, which hosts most of the content from those involved in the program.
My two tactics for this strategy are
1) Blog contest- Have site visitors enter for a free book of featured writings from those involved in the program.
Such compilations were featured at this year’s ABQ Zine Fest and included artwork as well.
2) Collaboration. Ask those involved in the program to generate interest by posting the weekly writing prompt in their Facebook statuses. I’ve seen this tactic used by some UNM sororities. On the night of their ritual, sorority members post a mysterious phrase about knocking (“Do you hear knocking? Is that someone knocking?) I think posting the writing prompts would have a simulate effect (“What I do when times get rough” and “I Am…”)