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Arts in Corrections research

This page has links to research and publications in New Zealand and internationally about Arts in Corrections and their benefits as a tool supporting rehabilitation and re-integration. 

New book about theatre in prison

30 April 2020
Imprisoned people all over the world are staging theatrical productions that enable them to express their humanity and capabilities. Prison Theatre and the Global Crisis in Incarceration examines performances in prisons and looks at the ways that arts practitioners and prisoners use theatre to build communities, attain professional skills, create social change and maintain hope. Ashley Lucas' writing is a mix of storytelling, performance analysis, travelogue, and personal experience as the child of an incarcerated father. The book will be released in September. Pre-order a copy  

Dance fellow to create resources

28 April 2020
Kristie Mortimer, recipient of the 2020 Caroline Plummer Fellowship administered by Otago University, will research and write a resource on how to teach dance in prisons and in the wider community. Kristie’s original project, which included facilitating weekly dance classes in a prison, has been put on hold because of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more

Action needed to improve youth justice system

27 January 2020
Children and adolescents detained in the youth justice system experience poor health across a range of complex physical and mental health disorders, according to new research conducted by the University of Melbourne, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and the University of Sheffield. Researchers examined the health of detained adolescents from 245 peer-reviewed journal articles and review publications. They found that detained adolescents have a significantly higher prevalence of mental health disorders and suicidal behaviours than their peers in the community, along with substance use disorders, neurodevelopment disabilities, and sexually transmitted infections. Read more

New book about performing arts in prisons

1 November 2019
A new publication, Performing Arts in Prisons, explores prison arts in Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the UK and Chile. It includes a chapter by Jacqui Moyes, former Arts in Corrections Advisor at Arts Access Aotearoa. Jacqui says: “There have been dramatic changes in public and political thinking since 2014 when we came together for the conference that initiated this book. This book documents the diverse landscape of performing arts in prisons around the world.” For more info and to purchase a copy

Online Evidence Library
The Evidence Library is an online library housing the key research and evaluation documents on the impact of arts-based projects, programmes and interventions in the criminal justice system in the UK. It is managed by the Arts Alliance, a coalition of arts organisations working in the criminal justice system. Visit the website and search the sections for the evidence you want.

Community Research

Community Research gathers research about New Zealand’s tangata whenua, community and voluntary sectors. Current topics range from advocacy to arts and culture, crime and safety, disability, law and justice, research and evaluation, and Whanau Ora. It aims to provide a hub for iwi and community organisations to share their knowledge and advocates for good practice community research methods. Visit the website

They're Our Whānau report

29 October 2018
They’re Our Whānau
 presents findings from research conducted by ActionStation and Otago University on Māori perspectives and solutions to New Zealand’s justice system. The research compiles the perspectives of more than 900 Māori survey participants, seven experts through interviews, and a literature review. For more info

Report on youth offending

1 July 2018
This report is the second in a series of discussion papers exploring factors that have led New Zealand to have a high incarceration rate. The first report, Using evidence to build a better justice system: the challenge of rising prison costs, covered factors related to incarceration rates and the costs of incarceration. This second report explores factors that are particularly relevant to youth offenders (up to age 25 years). Read the report

Professor Sylvie Frigon: a research profile

17 April 2018
Sylvie Frigon is a Canadian writer and Professor of Criminology at the University of Ottawa. On sabbatical in early 2018, she spent two months at the University of Victoria in Wellington as a visiting scholar in its Institute of Criminology. Her main research areas are women in prison, and issues such as employment, self-mutilation and conjugal homicide. Read more about her research and publications

Clean Break's Theory of Change report

18 December 2017
Clean Break Theatre Company has recently published Theory of Change, which aims to demonstrate a clear link between its activities and the impact of its work with women. Its work takes place in women’s prisons, theatres, community settings and in its London studios. It was developed over several years through a process of workshops and discussion with staff, and feedback from women who participate in the programme. For more

Role of support workers

19 April 2017
As part of Sound Connections’ "Taking Off" research, the Irene Taylor Trust in the UK was commissioned to explore the role of the support worker when delivering music projects with young people in challenging circumstances. This action research details approaches to the role through interviews with professionals in the field and young people with direct experience of the Irene Taylor Trust’s Making Tracks music project. Read the research

Irene Taylor Trust music research

30 March 2016
Founded in 1995, the Irene Taylor Trust in London aims to “deliver innovative music projects enhancing the rehabilitation and education of prisoners and in doing so enable their reintegration into the community”. In February 2015, Artistic Director Sara Lee was awarded a travel fellowship by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust to travel to the United States and Norway to research the role that music plays in resettlement and crime prevention. Read more about the trust and download Winston Churchill Memorial Trust travel fellowship report

Research on women and re-offending

30 March 2016
Understanding what drives the cycle of compulsive behaviour when they re-offend is one of the things women in prison want from a rehabilitation programme, says a report called  Women's Experiences of Reoffending and Rehabilitation. The research report was written by Marianne Bevan, Research Advisor, Department of Corrections, and Nan Wehipeihana , independent research consultant.Read more

Research on performing arts in Australian prisons

27 November 2015
Performing arts have become a growing worldwide presence in prisons over the past 30 years, attracting academic and media attention, says a summary report on research conducted by Griffith University in Queensland, Australia. The report, Captive Audiences: the impact of performing arts programs in Australian prisons, discusses the myriad forms of performing arts projects in Australian prisons and points to the lack of research documenting these projects. Read more

Impact of Holyoake's DRUMBEAT Programme

25 April 2015
DRUMBEAT (Discovering Relationships Using Music – Beliefs, Emotions, Attitudes and Thoughts) is an evidence-based intervention developed by the Holyoake Institute to improve mental, social and emotional wellbeing in high-risk populations. This report discusses the research on the DRUMBEAT programmes in seven Western Australian prisons: for example, Bunbury Prison, a maximum security prison for men, 183km from Perth. Read more





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