Arts Alliance releases figures from indepth study on reoffending in UK
The arts engage people on many different levels and now it has been statistically proven that the arts cut reoffending rates by up to 50%. A report recently commissioned by the Arts Alliance has shown that within the criminal justice system the arts play an important role in keeping inmates once released from reoffending. The scheme for prisoners show a fall in reoffending rates from an estimated 57.5% to 25.9%, saving almost £150,000 for each offender that stopped committing crimes. Former Scotland Yard commissioner Lord Blair, who is also chairman of the Thames Valley Partnership, which aims to find long-term solutions to crime and social exclusion, said the arts can “have a transformative effect on a person’s life, particularly for young people”. Such schemes “have the potential to tackle deep-rooted problems” and “this can help them turn away from crime and start to lead purposeful and positive lives”, he stated.Tim Robertson, chairman of the Arts Alliance, said: “With a spiralling prison population, shocking rates of reoffending and steeply declining budgets, we urgently need to find new ways of working. “The criminal justice sector needs to open its doors to arts organisations and find new ways of working in partnership with them.”
A coalition of arts practitioners and organisations working in prison and the community to support men, women, and young people to lead crime free lives. With the support of Arts Council England, the Ministry of Justice and the Monument Trust, the Arts Alliance is highlighting the value of the arts, evidence of its effectiveness, and best practice, making the case that arts and creative activities for all offenders.The report, commissioned by the Arts Alliance and produced by the consultancy charity New Philanthropy Capital (NPC), showed that 72 offenders had been involved with Only Connect, producing and performing in arts projects including theatre, film and music, and had now been released from prison. In 58 cases for where details were known, 15 had gone on to commit more offences, a reoffending rate of 25.9%. Estimates using Ministry of Justice reoffending data, considering age, gender and time since release from prison, showed the reoffending rate would have been 57.5% without the arts scheme, the report said. It added the average Only Connect member who reoffends would have cost the criminal justice system £145,528, based on an average of seven re-offences leading to reconviction and 38% of convictions leading to a jail sentence. The benefits that art offers offenders in their rehabilitation.
The cost of imprisonment is high, as are the continuing re-offending rates. Holding a person in a Young Offender institution (YOI) costs about £100,000 a year. Punishing Costs, NPC, 2010 The overall cost per adult prisoner per year is £41,000. Prison Reform Trust, 2009 The number of women in prison has increased by 44% over the past decade. 47% of adults are reconvicted within one year of being released. Bringing arts projects into the world of criminal justice is not quite like jumping into a cage of snakes, although at times it feels like that. And finally, to prevent these same individuals from falling out between themselves and their communities, generating further offending behaviour, the arts is a good solution to building confidence and raising self esteem among offenders across the board.
Photo:Two Spanners … – HM Prison Magilligan, N. Ireland, Patrick Holmes Platinum Award