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. Please contact Neil Wallace if you have any questions or research you would like promoted (M: 027 263 6711 E:

Article base on RNZB research

“Incorporating a dance program similar to the RNZB in Canadian prisons would be highly beneficial to the health and wellbeing of prisoners,” write authors Dr Sylvie Frigon and Jana Skorstengaard in an article in the Scientific Research Publishing journal. Called The Royal New Zealand Ballet and the Power of Dance in Prison, the article is based on research conducted with the dance company in 2020 and discusses ways in which dance helps bring a sense of joy and meaning to the lives of prisoners. Read the article

Literature review of arts benefits

Arts Access Aotearoa has conducted a literature review that examines the benefits that accrue from the delivery of arts programmes in criminal justice settings (in prison, on parole and Community Corrections). These benefits can be monetised to show a return on investment of perhaps four times the cost of an arts programme intervention. It also considers the value of a standardised and comprehensive framework for Arts in Corrections. 
The benefits of Arts in Corrections: literature review (pdf 720 KB)
The benefits of Arts in Corrections: literature review (Word 858 KB)

Music in Norwegian prisons

February 2022
Findings of a study about the role of music in Norwegian prisons, prepared by Áine Mangaoang of the University of Oslo, show that music is seen as a reward rather than a fundamental right. Prisoners don’t have equal opportunities or access to music-making in Norwegian prisons despite “their comparatively low levels of imprisonment and humane prison conditions”, the report concludes. Read the report

Impact of reading poetry written by prisoners

February 2022
This multigroup research examined how public attitudes towards current or former incarcerated people and their re-entry into society can be affected by information they receive about imprisoned people. The study found that stigma can be reduced through relatively simple and cost-effective methods involving information exposure. For example, something as simple as reading two short humanising poems written by a member of a stigmatised group can change public opinion and reduce stigmatisation.

Read the report  (pdf  458 KB)

The Walls Came Down evaluation

February 2021
Research article The Walls Came Down, published in the US Justice Evaluation Journal (2021, examines quantitative data about the emotional and psychological impact that Arts in Corrections has on prisoners. Authors Danielle Maude Littman and Shannon M Sliva evaluate a range of artforms across several US prison sites. Findings highlight the importance of arts programming, how it can improve interpersonal relationships and enhance the culture of each site. Read the article

Arts, Culture and Innovation in Criminal Justice Settings report

February 2021
This research report from the UK   Arts, Culture and Innovation in Criminal Justice Settings, was published in 2016 by the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance. It contains practical information and ideas, using research evidence and case studies to demonstrate the need for quality arts programmes in prisons and how they can be used to improve outcomes for prisoners. Read the report

Power of music podcast

September 2020
Warren Maxwell is a musician and founding member of Trinity Roots. He is also a senior lecturer in the School of Music and Sound Production at Massey University, Wellington, and was involved in Songs From the Inside, a New Zealand television series based around music mentoring with prisoners. In this podcast, he discusses the healing power of music. Listen to the podcast 

Action needed to improve youth justice system

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

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

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

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

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

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

Irene Taylor Trust music research

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

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



Neil Wallace:
Neil is Arts In Corrections Advisor | Kaiārahi A Toi Ara Poutama, Arts Access Aotearoa (M: 027 263 6711 E: Neil works Monday to Thursday.  

About Arts in Corrections

Arts in Corrections news/blogs



Arts in Corrections media

Arts in Corrections awards







Our funders

+ Text Size -

Skip to TOP

Do NOT follow this link or you will be banned from the server!