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Rehabilitation For Rehabilitation

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The purpose of this paper is to analyze art as a possible rehabilitation tool to help prisoners reintegrate effectively into society. One of the reasons America has career criminals is that they lack compassion or empathy for other people. Many of these individuals may have had home lives devoid of any moral training. Teaching compassion or empathy is not something emphasized in schools; consequently, these individuals may never have learned compassion or how to find their own passion and use it in a healthy way. Instead, we put them behind bars with other criminals similar to them or worse and the revolving door pattern continues.
The stigma of incarceration for a convict is a barrier for reintegration into society, obtaining employment, or educational opportunities. We as a society should strive to rehabilitate an offender to be a contributing member of society, once their debt to society is paid. One way to teach criminals drive, motivation, and empathy could be through studio art. These inmates could analyze themselves and the reasons that brought them to this point in time and gain some personal understanding in the process in order to change behavior and destructive thinking patterns.
Having a group art session could also benefit by helping them develop positive interpersonal relationships between inmates and the staff. The therapist is there to assist them to learn how to behave in social settings. One example is critiquing each other’s work in a productive and supportive way. They can learn that comments are not a personal attack on the art work but what the art represents to each inmate and their interpretation. Learning how to accept this kind of feedback is a very mature process. Prisoners learn to express themselves...

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...n of inmates. What we as a country are doing is not working to rehabilitate offenders. This seems to be a low cost option to the very expensive vocational skills that are offered to inmates, but they cannot seem to get jobs even with the training because of the “you just got out of prison” attitude of society. Mobile has a wonderful program called “Project H.O.P.E” that helps ex-offenders get jobs and all the help they will need to put them on the road to a new life. It does not include Art therapy because it works after inmates have paid their debt to society. It just changes the attitude among employers.
It also rally’s the support of the entire community. Right now I have a friend that works in the Prison System in California and asked her about it this kind of program and she said they only hire therapist’s. They don’t have a program like the one I researched.
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