Arts + Action News

The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center is a non-commercial, democratic collective of bay area independent media makers and media outlets, and serves as the local organizing unit of the global Indymedia network.

Arts Access AOTEAROA

Our vision
All people in New Zealand are able to participate in the arts.

Our purpose
Arts Access Aotearoa advocates for all people in New Zealand to have access to the arts by supporting people who experience barriers to participation or whose access is limited.

Our values
We believe that all people have a right to access opportunities as both creators and audience members.

In all aspects of its work, Arts Access Aotearoa will respect and honour the Treaty of Waitangi with due regard for its articles and principles.

Our programmes
At Arts Access Aotearoa, all of our activities and events are undertaken through our five programmes:

Access and Participation
Community Development
Advocacy and Profile
Information Centre
Prison Arts

Between the Bars

Between the Bars is a weblog platform for people in prison, through which the 1% of America which is behind bars can tell their stories. Since prisoners are routinely denied access to the Internet, we enable them to blog by scanning letters. We aim to provide a positive outlet for creativity, a tool to assist in the maintenance of social safety nets, an opportunity to forge connections between people inside and outside of prison, and a means to promote non-criminal identities and personal expression. We hope to improve prisoner’s lives, and help to reduce recidivism.

College & Community Fellowship

The mission of the College and Community Fellowship (CCF) is to eliminate the individual and social barriers to education and civic participation of women with criminal convictions and their families. Through our activities and programs, CCF addresses the educational, economic, and civic participation needs of women with criminal convictions in the New York metropolitan area, working in concert with other organizations to enhance their successful re-entry.


Clinks supports the Voluntary and Community Sector working with offenders in England and Wales. Our aim is to ensure the Sector and all those with whom it works, are informed and engaged in order to transform the lives of offenders and their communities.

Families & Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children

Families and Friends of Louisiana’s Incarcerated Children (FFLIC) is a statewide membership-based organization that fights for a better life for all of Louisiana’s youth, especially those involved in or targeted by the juvenile justice system.

As mothers and fathers, grandparents, siblings, cousins, aunts, uncles and allies we believe in and implement a model of organizing that is people and community centered, and is explicitly anti-racist.

We engage in education, community building, and leadership development advocacy through strategically chosen goals in order to empower individuals, families and communities to transform currently oppressive systems and institutions into ones that uphold justice for our families, to build strong, powerful families and communities and to fight for justice for our children and ourselves.

From the street level to the state level, from our meeting rooms to the state capitol, we are working to build a society based on the principles of racial justice, human rights, and full participation through our tireless fight for justice for youth. For this reason, we seek to build a truly democratic, multiracial organization whose membership reflects the communities we come from.

We believe that we are the “experts” on what our communities need and that solidarity and collective action are our most powerful tools in our struggle for self-determination and justice for our children and families.

Human Kindness Foundation

Bo & Sita Lozoff founded our Prison-Ashram Project in 1973. They created Human Kindness Foundation in 1987 to encompass the prison work and other projects.

The primary purpose of the Prison-Ashram Project is to inspire and encourage prisoners and prison staff to recognize their depth as human beings, and to behave accordingly. Our inmost nature is divine. The nature of our lives is an incomprehensibly wonderful mystery which each human being can experience for themselves. Prisoners have the opportunity to dedicate themselves to this inward journey without the distractions and luxuries which occupy many people in the “free world.”

Humanity for Prisoners

In 2001, Doug Tjapkes formed the Humanity for Prisoners based on a dream of his best friend, Maurice Carter, who had been behind bars for 29 years for a crime he did not commit. Doug met the challenge of Carter, who stated that he wanted to convert this negative into a positive and help others who have been wrongly convicted and serve as an advocate for all prisoners with special needs. It was their dream that the two would work together upon his release from prison.  That was not to happen.

The courts rejected a four-year legal effort headed up by the Wisconsin Innocence Project. Meanwhile, while incarcerated, Maurice contracted Hepatitis C and a serious staph infection. Governor Jennifer Granholm commuted his sentence for medical reasons in July, 2004. He enjoyed only three months of freedom. He died at the age of 60 in October, 2004, before he could qualify for a liver transplant.

Seeking rightful resolutions to wrongful convictions;
Advocating appropriate release for inmates who have served prescribed time;
Defending the constitutional right to receive adequate prison medical care;
Pursuing compassionate action on behalf of prisoners facing imminent death;
Considering assistance for other prisoners with critical needs; and,
Facilitating reentry, when possible, for freed prisoners.
Mentoring religious and civic groups in prisoner letter writing.

The Innocence Project

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. To date, 261 people in the United States have been exonerated by DNA testing, including 17 who served time on death row. These people served an average of 13 years in prison before exoneration and release.

The Innocence Project’s full-time staff attorneys and Cardozo clinic students provide direct representation or critical assistance in most of these cases. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. Now an independent nonprofit organization closely affiliated with Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University, the Innocence Project’s mission is nothing less than to free the staggering numbers of innocent people who remain incarcerated and to bring substantive reform to the system responsible for their unjust imprisonment.

Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program

Education in which we are able to encounter each other, especially across profound social barriers, is transformative and allows problems to be approached in new and different ways. Inside-Out’s mission is to create opportunities for people inside and outside of prison to have transformative learning experiences that emphasize collaboration and dialogue and that invite them to take leadership in addressing crime, justice, and other issues of social concern.

The John Howard Association of Illinois

John Howard Association of Illinois (JHA) works to achieve a fair, humane and cost-effective criminal justice system by promoting adult and juvenile prison reform, leading to successful re-integration and enhanced community safety.

The John Howard Society

The John Howard Societies in Canada perform essentially two roles: advocating to the Government of Canada for correctional and criminal justice policy that adheres to the principles of “effective, just and humane”; and, deliver best practice services that embody these principles and are shown to be economically responsible and accountable to the communities in which our offices are located.

Journal of Prison Education and Reentry

Dialogue for researchers and practitioners

We welcome a broad range of papers, divided into two submission streams: practitioner and research. Sometimes practitioner and research papers will have similar foci – for example, the teaching and learning taking place in prison classrooms, libraries, or post-release centres; research syntheses; examinations of evaluation studies or audits; analysis of trends in prison education; prisoner insights and contributions; social and cultural perspectives on alternative education; critical essays on research findings; literature reviews; curriculum development; practitioner induction courses and professional development; materials and resource development; assessment practices and innovations; policy formation; historical studies; advocacy for prisoner education; commentaries on philosophical or political developments; etc.

Prison Talk

The PrisonTalk Online web community was conceived in a prison cell, designed in a halfway house, and funded by donations from families of ex-offenders, to bring those with an interest in the prisoner support community a forum in which their issues and concerns may be addressed by others in similar circumstances and beliefs.

Prison Studies Project

The Prison Studies Project is compiling the first nationwide directory of higher education programs in U.S. prisons. Searchable and continually updated, the directory is an online, state-by-state listing of primarily on-site degree-granting postsecondary education programs in prisons. As a joint initiative with The Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, the project works to increase educational opportunities for people who are incarcerated in all 50 states by supporting those who run higher educational programs in prison. When completed, it will serve as a preeminent domain for a national clearinghouse on postsecondary education in prison.

Resurrection after Exoneration

After being incarcerated for crimes they did not commit, exonerees are faced with an even tougher battle. They must readjust to a world that isn’t waiting with open arms; in most cases, it’s the opposite.

The challenges that await exonerees upon their release compound the injustices of wrongful incarceration. The pressure of finding employment and gaining access to medical treatment, dental treatment, housing and job training are just a few typical hurdles. In addition, there is no system in place to help exonerees deal with the trauma of incarceration and its impact in their lives post-exoneration. Exonerees are forced to re-enter a society bearing the stigma and the stain of incarceration, despite their innocence.

RAE is working to transform the experience of exonerated men and returning long-term prisoners, creating social leaders where there is currently a cycle of recidivism, desperation and poverty.

RAE’s exonerees can now access individual counseling, educational opportunities, and financial and computer literacy training.  Instead of working for free for the prison system, we are working together to help each other, building our solidarity. Above all, we are positioning ourselves as advocates for criminal justice reform, speaking about our experiences at events and venues nationwide.

William James Association

The major program of the William James Association is the Prison Arts Project (PAP), created through the vision and efforts of Eloise Smith. A pilot project was set up in 1977 at the California Medical Facility at Vacaville, with funding provided by the San Francisco Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration.
Eloise Smith’s vision was based simply on the value of providing all individuals with the most meaningful art experience possible; in her words, “that mysterious life-enhancing process we call the arts, a realm in which patient application and vivid imagination so often produce magic.”

The success of this initial program led to the formation of Arts-in-Corrections, an administrative office within the California Department of Corrections, which oversees the staffing of artist-facilitators at all prisons in California. Unfortunately, in January 2003, all Arts-in-Corrections artists’ contracts were terminated as the result of a budget crisis in California state government.

Through some limited funding from private sources, the William James Association has been able to hire a few professional artists to teach at San Quentin State Prison and the women’s unit of the California Rehabilitation Center in Norco.

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