The New York State Arts In Correctional Education Network
September 24, 2008 Meeting
Tengelsen Gallery at the Art League of Long Island, 3:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

 

Nelli Bespalova, Arts Coordinator, Passages Academy

Sydney Blair, Passages Academy

Janice Bucker, artist

Carol Brown, Arts in Education Coordinator, Eastern Suffolk BOCES

Ron Carter, Passages Academy

John Curtis, Island Academy

Dale Davis, The New York State Literary Center

Robert Dembia, Administrative Coordinator for Incarcerated Education Programs (and Re-Rout Program) Adolescences and Adults, Eastern Suffolk BOCES

Frank Dody, Island Academy

Becky Utech Gaugler, Education, Rubin Museum of Art

Jose A. Lima, Island Academy

Theresa A. McIntyre, Island Academy

Arthur Matuszewski

Donnielle Rome, Education, Queens Museum

Ray Saltini, Director of Development and Public Relations, Art League of Long Island, Coordinator Arts In Education Roundtable

Amy Sananman, Executive Director, Groundswell

Dwight Stecker, NYS Association of Incarcerated Education Programs

Sean Turner, Passages Academy

Copies of the Agenda and he New York State Arts in Correctional Education Network Fact Sheet were distributed to all in attendance.

The meeting opened with a brief reflection of current events and arts projects taking place at Passages Academy (Sydney Blair), Island Academy (John Curtis), Monroe County Jail (Dale Davis).

Dale Davis initiated discussion about establishing a task force to create a  “Guidebook / handbook” for partnerships with artists and arts organizations both inside facilities and in the community. Suggested areas within the handbook included identifying different types of facilities and their unique contextual demands, identifying and training artists in relation to teaching in an incarcerated facility, resources for learning in and through the arts within classrooms. The following signed up to participate in the task force: Nelli Bespalova, Carol Brown, Ron Carter, John Curtis, Becky Gaugler, Groundswell, Jose Lima, Theresa McIntyre, Donielle Rome, Dwight Stecker. Dale Davis will head this task force.

Dale Davis has the  “Training Guideline (based in pragmatism and compassion),” created by Kyes Stevens, founder and director of the Alabama Prison Arts + Education Project (August 2008); Handbook for Artists Working In Arts In Criminal Justice and Crime Prevention Settings, by Anne Peaker, Anne Peaker Center, England (February 2007) supplied by Frank Dody. Robert Dembia supplied a copy of Teaching On The Inside. A Survival Handbook for the New Correctional Educator, by Pauline Geraci, Greystone Educational Materials, 2002. 

Dwight Stecker agreed to contact Donald Nadler, Deputy Director of Operations, NYS Department of Corrections in regard to the network, an existing training manual, and a meeting with him in Albany.

Dale Davis reported that progress is being made on “intellectual property,” copyright, trademark, and the rights of inmates in relation to artwork and writing. The New York State Literary Center, through the Arts & Cultural Council of Greater Rochester, has secured the pro bono legal services of Nixon Peabody. Dale Davis and Edward Ignarri have met with attorney Wendell Harris of Nixon Peabody.

Dale Davis proposed a possible publication on the Arts in Correctional Education with Teachers & Writers Collaborative. Amy Swauger, Executive Director of Teachers & Writers Collaborative, is receptive to the idea. John Curtis stressed the lack of research on the education of juveniles in detention and adolescents incarcerated as adults and that the publication would be extremely valuable. While the overall theme would be the arts education already in place within the various programs that are part of the network, Dale Davis specifically made editorial suggestions to members about contributions she felt people could and should make. Dale Davis and Sean Turner will spearhead this effort.

The group discussed potential research projects and the need for further research. A larger question arose regarding what is going to be examined as a variable: Would this be “art therapy”, “learning in and through the arts,” “arts instruction”, or “arts based projects”. While the group accepted the following Dependent Variables (incidents, learning, recidivism rates), the group still needs to decide which of these, if any, would be included in the guidebook / handbook, the proposed publication and which could potentially be identified as part of training or as an intervention, or as a basis for a larger grant, including a U. S. Department of Education grant.

Discussion included pulling from existing research that has examined the use of arts education with at-risk students (including learning in and through the arts and arts instruction) and deciding if this would serve as a foundation for the group to pursue larger funded projects, or if the group would examine issues not addressed within the larger set of literature already published, and unique to incarcerated facilities. 

Further discussion included how this research might tie into a similar grant that was received by the Coalition of Arts for Court-Involved Youth in Massachusetts, wherein the variable of arts infusion was measured on youth development, learning, and transition of incarcerated youth from incarceration into the mainstream community.

Final discussion about research included the potential to evaluate the effect of a said intervention (once the variable is identified) within three facilities in New York State, including Monroe County Jail, Island Academy, and Passages Academy. Sean Turner is addressing this.

Theresa McIntyre spoke about the NYS Association of Incarcerated Education Programs (NYSAIEP) conference in Saratoga on May 5  - 8, 2009. The theme of this year’s conference is “The Arts, Literacy, and Correctional Education.”  NYSACEN will work with NYSAIEP on the conference. Everyone in attendance indicated support for participation in the conference. Dale Davis and Theresa McIntyre will work on the collaboration.

Go to top of page
 

New York State Arts In Correctional Education Network
July 15, 2008 Meeting, ESP Summer Seminar, C.W. Post College - 7:00 p. m

Michael Blake

Robert Carter

Ron Carter

Dale Davis

Gary Dayton

Robert Dembia

Frank Dody

Elizabeth Halverstam

Marty Hardisky

Mark Levine

Conor McGrady

Kim Nadritch

Alexandra Palmieri

Ray Saltini

Dwight Stecker

James Vacca, Associate Professor and Chairman, Department of Special Education and Literacy, Long Island University, C.W. Post College, Guest Speaker

James Vacca, PowerPoint presentation related to his paper, “Educated Prisoners Are Less Likely To Return To Prison,” The Journal of Correctional Education, December 2004.

“Effective education programs are those that help prisoners with their social skills, artistic development and techniques and strategies to help them deal with their emotions In addition these programs emphasize academic, vocational and social education.”

Jack Henry Abbott’s book, In the Belly of the Beast (http://www.nytimes.com/books/98/05/10/specials/mailer-abbot.html)

  • Abbott convinced the state to let him out and was re-sentenced for murder after being out.

  • What could have prevented his fall back into crime?

  • What was the support system for him?

  • Was he a writer?

Why Educate Prisoners?

  • Prisoners are less likely to return if the inmate completes an educational program.

  • An unskilled, uneducated person is likely to become re-involved in criminal activity.

  • Two-thirds of paroled prisoners don’t have literacy skills to function in society.

  • Prisoners who are unskilled and uneducated have a twenty percent higher recidivism rate.

Statistics on Teenagers Committing Crime

  • Teenagers are responsible for 20 percent to thirty percent of all crime (National Bureau of Economic Research, 1999).

  • An eighteen-year old is five times more likely to become arrested for property crime than a thirty-five year old.

  • Fifteen to nineteen year olds are seven percent of the overall population and commit ten percent of all crime.

  • Criminals are not getting better but are getting younger.

School Failure Theory

  • Delinquent behavior is the secondary result of a disability.

  • Delinquent behavior leads to school failure.

  • A poor sense of self contributes to delinquent behavior causing consequences in school.

  • Unstructured time in school offers opportunity for delinquent behavior.

  • No opportunities for incarcerated adolescents when they return to school.

  • Majority of students on probation don’t finish or return to high school

  • Also consequences for children of incarcerated parents include negative experiences in school.

  • Kids change and schools must change to accommodate them.

  • The consequences of No Child Left Behind.

The Right Kind of Education While Incarcerated

  • Lowers recidivism rate and reduces violence.

  • Leads to more humane and tolerable prison environment to live and work in for both prisoners and correctional officers.

  • Less problems and better behavior.

Why

  • Twenty-five percent of inmates who received vocational training returned following release compared to seventy-seven percent in the general population.

  • Training must be timely, e.g. carpentry and computer skills.

  • Ohio’s college program showed that inmates who graduated from the college program reduced the recidivism rate by seventy-two percent when compared to inmates not participating in a college program.

  • Saves money.

  • Puts people back into the environment who can be successful

  • Lower recidivism rates save hundreds of millions of dollars.

  • $100,000 to $200,000 per years spent on prisoners, more for children.

Effective Education Programs

  • Earning a diploma is key.

  • Recidivism drops when education programs help inmates with social skills, artistic development and techniques, strategies to help deal with emotions.

  • Effective programs help inmates find their voices.

  • An effective program includes technology, sciences, artistic thinking skills, high expectations, and rigor.

  • Inmates are more inclined to participate in programs when they see clear opportunities to improve their capabilities when they released.

  • Inmates are more inclined to participate in programs when they know they can succeed.

  • Effective program should be learner centered and tailored to prison culture.

  • Literacy should be put in a meaningful context that addresses the learners’ needs.

  • Instruction should involve engaging topics that motivate and sustain the inmates’ interest.

  • Effective programs should use literature written by prisoners because it provides relevant subject matter as well as writing models.

  • Effective programs must enable inmates to see themselves and be seen in roles other than prisoners.

  • Effective programs are collaborative, rigorous, mapped (skills aligned with New York State Standards and assessment), include character development stressing how to question (incarcerated students have a limited ability to ask and handle questions).

See paper  http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa4111/is_200412/ai_n9466371/pg_1 for further information

Problems

  • Forty to fifty percent of adult prisoners can’t read or write past fourth grade level.

  • At least one half of adult prisoners have less than an eighth grade education language.

  • School subjects taught without a meaningful context that recognizes the different learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and learning needs of inmates.

  • Ninety percent of adult prisoners are high school dropouts.

  • Upon return schools don’t want adolescents who have been incarcerated.

  • Peer to peer pressure inmates face by succeeding.

  • Lack of follow up services provided in schools and in the community.

  • Many good programs are grant based.

  • Role of education and programs in jails and prison seen as unnecessary by many in society.

What are the Challenges To Create Successful Education Programs

  • Programs that are learner centered and tailored to prison culture.

  • Programs whose identifying nature is a meaningful context that recognizes the different learning styles, cultural backgrounds, and learning needs of inmates.

  • Programs where technology, sciences, artistic thinking skills, high expectations, and rigor are essential.

  • Programs that involve engaging topics to motivate and sustain the inmates’ interest.

  • Literature written by prisoners because it provides relevant subject matter as well as writing models.

  • Programs that enable inmates to see themselves and be seen in roles other than prisoners.

  • Programs that are collaborative, rigorous, have relevant content, map (skills aligned with New York State Standards and assessment), and develop character (teach how to question)

Conclusion

All in incarcerated education can be advocates and speak out for: (1) Inmates have the same rights as everyone else to a good education; and (2) What a successful education program for inmates should look like.

Resources Discussed Following Meeting

  • Youtube Prison Education Links

  • Prison Education News (Ireland) http://penandclink.com/

  • Rachel Marie-Crane Williams. “The Status and Praxis of Arts Education and Juvenile Offenders in Correctional Education Facilities in the United States.” The Journal of Correctional Education 59 (2), June 2008. Copies distributed by Frank Dody. Rachel Marie-Crane Williams also presented at the national Arts In Criminal Justice conference in Philadelphia in October 2007.

  • James Vacca. “Crime Can Be Prevented if Schools Teach Juveniles To Read.” Children and Youth Services Review, September 2008.

Next Meeting of New York State Arts In Correctional Education Network (NYASACEN)

September 24, 2008
4:30 – 6:30 p.m.
East End Arts Council
Hosted by Ray Saltini, Arts In Education Roundtable Coordinator

Working Agenda

How the three sites (Island Academy, Passages Academy, Monroe County Jail) presently are integrating the arts to address the challenges outlined in “What Are the Challenges To Create Successful Education Programs” (above).

What resources are available to measure if a program is successful?

What does collaboration with a juvenile detention center, a jail, or a correctional facility involve?

What is the difference between a juvenile justice facility, a jail, and a correctional facility?

How to identify artists and what training is necessary?

What is involved in working under restricted conditions? What does one need to know?

The legal rights of juveniles and adolescents arrested as adults in regard to artwork and writing produced. 

Reentry Opportunities Programming: who might make good partners for project on the outside? How to identify? What does the program need to know?

NYSACEN anthology of student / inmate work from Island Academy, Passages Academy, Monroe County Jail with an introduction and overall description of programming from each site.

NYSAIEP Conference

Ongoing Research - Sean Turner

Next Meeting: Presentation by faculty member, University of California, San Bernardo. When? Where? Whom to invite?

Go to top of page


New York State Arts in Correctional Education Network (NYSACEN)
Holiday Inn, Saratoga, New York State Association of Incarcerated Education Programs Conference - May 1, 2008

I.          From December 14 Meeting at Passages - Sean Turner   

Implications.  As a result of this discussion, I have three major areas in which this group could initiate further inquiry (research) or development (collaboration):

1.   Arts based learning and instruction within a secure detention center, jail, or incarcerated facility. This would include:

  1. The development of a “teacher manual” for artists, teachers, and arts and cultural organizations to use for working in a secure facility, specific to arts based learning activities;
  1. Identification of effective types of art practices, skills, pedagogies and instructional strategies that are currently being used within arts based activities taking place inside secure facilities;
  1. Identification/development of templates/rubrics that are currently being used to measure student growth and/or learning within these activities; 
  1. Examples of types of effective collaborations and/or large arts based projects.

While most of this development could be done by each organization/school providing their own data, there still appears to be a need for one person to observe different activities across sites, and complete teacher and student interviews. The latter of which is specific for identifying types of art practices used by students and which could be used for further development of a template/rubric/evaluation used across sites.

2.   Impact of arts based learning and instruction upon incarcerated and/or pre-adjudicated populations. This would include further inquiry into the effect of art based learning on incarcerated youth, as noted by the following measures:

  1. Student learning;
  1. Recidivism rates; 
  1. Student behavior. 

As noted within our discussion, there is general agreement that arts based learning enhances student learning in the classrooms while decreasing the amount of student aggression (physical and verbal incidents), but it remains to be seen just what this means  As such, we should be able to develop a common framework for an arts based activity that could be used as an intervention at three incarcerated facilities across the state, and look at the effect of this intervention upon student behavior and learning before, during and after the activity.  An additional design would be used to examine if students, who took part in the activity, were able to make a successful transition back into a school after their release. 

3.   Development of new spaces for collaboration, reflection and dialogue about arts based learning and activities. This would include utilizing technological resources, such as wikis, blogs, pod casting, and multi-media, as ways for those working with this population to narrate and discuss their experiences or instructional pedagogy, ways to enhance critical dialogue about continued growth or arts based learning, and as ways to open up spaces for students, upon release, to take part in this dialogue.  

II.         NYSCA Application - Dale Davis

III.       Meeting during Summer Seminar - July 13 – 17 C.W. Post

            Invite James S. Vacca to present on Tuesday, July 15, 2008

IV.        NYSACEN Roundtable East End Arts Council - Dale Davis

            September Date and contact Ray Saltini

V.         Queens Museum Exhibition - Donnielle Rome

Go to top of page


New York State Arts in Correctional Education Network (NYSACEN)
December 14, 2007, Passages Academy, 560 Brook Ave, Bronx, NY 10455

Attendance. Representatives from NYSCA (Gary Dayton); Island Academy (Frank Dody; John Curtis); The New School (Ella Turenee, Jackson Taylor); The New York State Literary Center (Dale Davis; Max Cuddy); Passages Academy (Sydney Blair; Michael Blake; Ron Carter; Sean Turner; John Scott); Rubin Museum (Celia Gerard), Teachers and Writers Collaborative (Amy Swauger); Push/Writing/Release/PEN Program (Jackson Taylor).

General Discussion. There was a general discussion highlighting the various collaborations and types of arts based projects that those who were in attendance were taking part in.

NYSACEN on The Web. NYSACEN now has a web presence http://www.nyslc.org/aboutnysarts.htm that includes:

  • Bios of the Steering Committee;
  • A Reading Resource List;
  • Link to Subscribing to a NYSACEN listserv on Yahoo;
  • Links to National Resources;
  • Questions for Discussion.

Those in attendance were urged to join and support the listserv and to post pertinent information and items for discussion. They were also urged to contact colleagues with information about NYSACEN on the web and the listserv. Who does NYSACEN want to reach and involve and how was discussed.

Dale Davis was contacted by Dwight Stecker on behalf of the New York State Correctional Education Conference in Saratoga, April 30 – May 2, and invited to submit a NYSACEN proposal for the conference. A proposal, NYS Arts In Correctional Education Network, was submitted with John Curtis as facilitator and Sydney Blair, Dale Davis, Frank Dody, Edward Ignarri, Margaret Porter, Donnielle Rome, and Sean Turner as panelists.

In addition, the following themes were discussed: Transformation, empowerment, isolation, learning, social activism, recidivism rates, skill level, assessments, teacher training.

Need.  Gary Dayton identified four areas that NYSACEN should focus on: Partnerships (long and sustainable); Arts Based Learning; Continued improvement; and Development of learning communities).

Jackson Taylor identified a need to examine how the arts raised the level of skill.

Frank Dody identified the need to address the problem of “isolated efforts” by “putting our heads together on a joint art project. Others joined in on this point, by noting that there should spaces to continue the dialogue between artists and teachers, including sharing pedagogical practices, reflective narratives, and types of art practices used.

John Curtis and Sydney Blair identified that there is a need to look at what types of measures we use to evaluate the effectiveness of our arts-based programs.

Dale Davis identified that there is a need to develop a manual or written framework for teacher training (for collaboration in an arts based learning project in an incarcerated facility) and for shaping an effective partnership between an educational provider and an arts and / or cultural organization; for identifying elements that an artist and arts and cultural organizations should know before beginning work with and in a correctional education program.

John Curtis, Frank Dody, and Sydney Blair clearly highlighted the need to further define both our group and our population. In particular they highlighted the significance of bringing together educators, representing mandated school programs taking place within incarcerated facilities and secure detention centers, artists, representing a diverse network of arts and cultural organizations that have partnered with these schools, and representatives of community based arts and / or cultural organizations that have developed spaces for this population to continue their arts based learning outside of incarcerated facilities and secure detention centers. In addition, they noted that the student population that we work with is not represented in much of the “discussion” about using arts in jails, because, in part, of the transitional nature of our student population, the age range (8-19) of the student population, which requires educational services that address state and No Child Left Behind mandates, and because of the correlation of the student population and previous academic failure (as evident in the low reading scores, lack of promotional criteria being met). They also not noted there was little or no research done on this population.

Implications.  As a result of this discussion, I have three major areas in which this group could initiate further inquiry (research) or development (collaboration):

1.   Arts based learning and instruction within a secure detention center, jail, or incarcerated facility. This would include:

  1. The development of a “teacher manual” for artists, teachers, and arts and cultural organizations to use for working in a secure facility, specific to arts based learning activities;
  1. Identification of effective types of art practices, skills, pedagogies and instructional strategies that are currently being used within arts based activities taking place inside secure facilities;
  1. Identification/development of templates/rubrics that are currently being used to measure student growth and/or learning within these activities; 
  1. Examples of types of effective collaborations and/or large arts based projects.

While most of this development could be done by each organization/school providing their own data, there still appears to be a need for one person to observe different activities across sites, and complete teacher and student interviews. The latter of which is specific for identifying types of art practices used by students and which could be used for further development of a template/rubric/evaluation used across sites. 

2.   Impact of arts based learning and instruction upon incarcerated and/or pre-adjudicated populations. This would include further inquiry into the effect of art based learning on incarcerated youth, as noted by the following measures:

  1. Student learning;
  1. Recidivism rates; 
  1. Student behavior. 

As noted within our discussion, there is general agreement that arts based learning enhances student learning in the classrooms while decreasing the amount of student aggression (physical and verbal incidents), but it remains to be seen just what this means  As such, we should be able to develop a common framework for an arts based activity that could be used as an intervention at three incarcerated facilities across the state, and look at the effect of this intervention upon student behavior and learning before, during and after the activity.  An additional design would be used to examine if students, who took part in the activity, were able to make a successful transition back into a school after their release. 

3.   Development of new spaces for collaboration, reflection and dialogue about arts based learning and activities. This would include utilizing technological resources, such as wikis, blogs, pod casting, and multi-media, as ways for those working with this population to narrate and discuss their experiences or instructional pedagogy, ways to enhance critical dialogue about continued growth or arts based learning, and as ways to open up spaces for students, upon release, to take part in this dialogue.  

Sean Turner

Go to top of page