The power of art is affecting prisoners in the U.S.

Jovanny Zapata, Staff Writer

As of 2023, the United States of America ranks number one in both incarceration rates and overall number of prisoners. Even worse, about 82 percent of inmates return to a life of crime, and there’s not much to be done. It’s clear that something needs to change and rehabilitation programs are the key to it, with art programs being one of the many opportunities. 

The art programs being offered to the inmates include creative writing, visual arts, poetry, dance and even theater. On the national level, American art programs are conducted by charity organizations dedicated to giving inmates a touch of civilian life. Unfortunately, there are people that are against the idea of rehabilitation of criminals. The cost alone of housing the incarcerated is 26,407 dollars, and one can imagine that with the rehabilitation programs  it is bound to increase. However, inmates are still people, and their mistakes should not deprive them of activities.

One may question why criminals and not the elderly or minorities, that need community centers, but the incarcerated are more important to America, specifically its economy, than the simple taxpayer thinks. There are more than 4,000 companies that make profit out of the inmates, and with profit comes the hiring of the American people.

Although many would have differing opinions on the use of rehabilitation programs, art can play a fundamental role in reducing the number of inmates who return to a life of crime after they are released. Art programs are a way for people to express themselves in an acceptable, healthy way, and most importantly it returns the inmates to the normalcy of civilian life. Creating art is not just a simple stroke of paint; it is a return to society.