Monterey County

California spends $2.5 million on inmate artists

SACRAMENTO, Calif. - California is devoting $2.5 million to bring the arts to 14 state prisons as part of a program that actor Tim Robbins says can change inmates' lives.

Robbins has starred in movies including "The Shawshank Redemption," ''Bull Durham" and "Mystic River." He is also artistic director of the Actors' Gang Prison Project, which has offered theater arts programs in California prisons since 2006.

State arts and corrections officials announced seven contracts Thursday for Arts-in-Corrections programs.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Robbins says inmates who participate make fundamental changes and some are able to express their emotions for the first time.

Besides acting, the programs being funded over the next two years will include music, dance, creative writing, poetry, storytelling, painting, drawing and sculpture.

"Structured arts programs have proven results," said California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeff Beard. "Not only are inmates channeling their energy into constructive, creative projects, they are also learning new skills and expressing themselves in positive ways."

The organizations will offer programs in the following prisons:

  • Salinas Valley State Prison in Soledad
  • California Institution for Men in Chino
  • California Institution for Women in Corona
  • Pelican Bay State Prison in Crescent City
  • San Quentin State Prison
  • California State Prison-Sacramento in Folsom
  • California Rehabilitation Center in Norco
  • Kern Valley State Prison in Delano
  • California State Prison-Corcoran
  • California State Prison-Solano in Vacaville
  • Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran
  • Valley State Prison in Chowchilla
  • Pleasant Valley State Prison in Coalinga
  • Richard J. Donovan Correctional Facility in San Diego

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