If you’ve committed a crime, something has gone wrong with how you interact and behave with people, being a constructive member of society is all about communication. Offenders have had problems with communicating, that is why they are in prison. The arts can help encourage offenders to build the communication and analytical skills they were without.
There is no point in having a judicial system that is hell bent on punishment, that doesn’t work; you have to make people understand they have a stake in the society they are acting up against.
Of course the victims of crime should never be made to feel like the people who have hurt or harmed them are getting away with it, but isn’t the point to make sure this doesn’t happen again?
The arts have famously given offenders things to focus on, I spoke to Rapper Fem Fel who discovered music inside, who told me how music has given him purpose and he is now earning money as musician. Without music, he said he would have gone back to crime.
I think the arts should be used in prisons, but even more so, used before people get to the point of prison; people go to prison because they feel crime is the only option, the arts are a great way of getting people to see the value of their life and ways to earn money legally.
Part of the problem is funding is cut from the arts in areas of poverty, where young people are left with nothing to do but hang out on the street with their friends, this boredom and lack of opportunity leads to crime. If young people had funding, youth clubs, arts organisations open to them, then they would have things to do and talents and interests to discover.