I blogged a while back about a prison arts program that seemed to help some offenders discover a more positive, less antisocial side of themselves. Today I have a similar story, this one from England.
“Allowing prisoners to take part in art [projects] can help cut reoffending rates in half, according to a report commissioned by the Arts Alliance. The group of charities has voiced concern that in tough economic times such projects may be cut.” Nick Higham of the BBC reports in a video clip here.
I admire people who have the faith in human nature to try to reach society’s lost souls with arts or yoga or meditation or any other enrichment.
My second cousin, Alex, went to college in Cambridge, Mass., and did an internship teaching meditation techniques to some serious cases at the Suffolk County jail. She loved it and was inspired to go to graduate school and work with others in trouble.
Her mother tells me her latest internship is with a social services agency an hour and 20 minutes away. “She is managing several extremely challenging cases and spends a lot of time making home visits in dismal housing projects. Her days include fighting for housing for her clients, calling the police when bruised and beaten women answer the door, mediating confrontations between single moms who are managing 3-9 children and school officials who won’t let a child ride the bus due to behavioral issues. Her clients have been victims of domestic and other forms of violence and most have substance abuse issues. Her job is to find resources to rehabilitate troubled families. She is learning fast how to be the ultimate problem solver, confidante and counselor. Most of all, she is extremely happy and energized by the challenge.”
I am in awe that this tough work makes Alex happy and energized. We are lucky to have people like that on the front lines.