PRISON ARTS PROGRAMS – Juvenile Population


Actors’ Shakespeare Project – Incarcerated Youth at Play

Actors’ Shakespeare Project believes that the themes of Shakespeare’s plays – justice and revenge, the quest for power and position, family loyalties and betrayals, the relationship of grief to violence, and the power of love and redemption in society and individuals – are revealed in Shakespeare’s deeply human characters, their muscular language and their intimate, dramatic stories.  In his work we find a unique and enormously resonant means to unlock young people’s insights, imagination, self-reflection and self-expression, learning to speak and respond in relationship to other people and to the world around them. ASP’s Incarcerated Youth at Play participants are youth aged 12 – 17 involved primarily with the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS), and sometimes in treatment centers connected to the Department of Social Services (DSS). ASP also runs teacher training programs with English Language Arts, Theater, and Social Studies teachers within DYS facilities.

Art from Ashes

The mission of Art from Ashes is to empower struggling youth by providing creative programs that facilitate health and hope through expression, connection and transformation.

Art Spring

ArtSpring, Inc., a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization in Florida, believes in the power of art to transform individuals and strengthen communities. Our mission is to use arts, education and environmental programming to develop self-growth and effective life skills for incarcerated women, men and youth as well as other at-risk populations in underserved communities. Our faculty empowers participants to redirect their lives, resulting in a healthier and safer society.

Changing Lives Through Literature

A national and international program that uses a literature intervention to keep prisoners out of the cycle of crime, this innovative program pairs a judge and a probationer officer with a professor/facilitator to offer great literature to prisoners in a democratic book group format.  Over 4500 probationers around the country have graduated from CLTL and over eight states have produced thriving programs to help probationers rethink their choices and create better lives.

Children Prison Arts Project

Guiding Juvenile Offenders through visual & performing arts in Harris County, Texas.  CPAP’s mission is to expose youth in correctional facilities to an innovative, educational, creative writing, theater and visual art forum where they can express their art to their peers, and to the community at large.

Denny Juvenile Justice Center Poetry Workshop

The Denney Juvenile Justice Center Poetry workshop is a writing workshop facilitated by Snohomish County Children’s Writer, Mindy Hardwick. Youth are asked to write poems drawn from their life experiences. The youth’s poems are published in a chapbook funded by the Blanche Miller Art Exhibit Program. BECU and the Tulalip Tribes have funded specific week-long poetry workshops which incorporate young adult literature into the workshop.

Drama Club NYC

There is increasing interest and attention to juvenile justice reform in New York; 60% of courtinvolved youth in New York City will ultimately be re-arrested. A year-round organization devoted to arts programming in both pre- and post-sentencing juvenile detention facilities will assist New York City in its system-wide shift from a culture of punishment towards a culture of rehabilitation. For a low cost, Drama Club provides court-involved youth an opportunity to build positive social skills and self-esteem, which studies show leads to lower rates of violence while in detention as well as a lower recidivism rate.

Each One Reach One

Each One Reach One diverts incarcerated youth from a life in prison to become productive community members through mentor-based performing arts and academic tutoring programs.

We, the staff, board and supporters of Each One Reach One, believe that youth behind bars are kids first. We believe that one-on-one mentoring- especially through the creative act of playwriting and academic tutoring- provides the best way to shift the beliefs that incarcerated youth hold of themselves and that society holds for them.

We believe that young people have the right to learn from their mistakes, and that they should be encouraged to take responsibility for building a better future for themselves. We further believe that education is the most powerful tool they can use to transform their lives.

We will support their efforts with theatre arts and academic programming, and their development into the positive members of society that they are capable of becoming.

Free Minds Book Club

Free Minds was founded in 2002.  It uses books and creative writing to empower young inmates to transform their lives. By mentoring and connecting them to supportive services throughout their entire incarceration into reentry, Free Minds inspires these youths to see their potential and achieve new educational and career goals.

Free Minds serves 16 and 17 year old males who have been charged and incarcerated as adults at the DC Jail. Over the past 8 years, Free Minds has served more than 350 youths through the Book Club, Continuing Support, and Reentry Support phases of our program.


Insight-Out (IS0), provides services and self-development opportunities to prisoners and challenged youth and empowers them to positively transform their predicament.

Judy Dworin Performance Project, Inc.

The Judy Dworin Performance Project Inc. (JDPP) was founded in 1989 as a nonprofit umbrella organization based in Hartford, Connecticut, to provide support for individual artists. JDPP sees its role in the community as further building a diverse and innovative cultural mix of offerings at the highest professional level and giving voice to populations who have been silent or unheard. The work of the organization endeavors to reach the hearts and minds of those involved whether as audience or workshop participants in a process that reminds us of our collective humanity.

Over the twenty years of JDPP’s history, we have developed a mix of programmatic offerings that all work towards our mission of innovative, inspiring, educational and collaborative art making rooted in the belief that the arts can be a powerful agent for change in our culture.

The Possibility Project

The Possibility Project brings together vastly diverse groups of teenagers who meet weekly for a year. Through a combination of issue-oriented discussions, trainings in diversity, conflict resolution, leadership and community activism, instruction in the full range of performing arts, and the creation of scenes and writing, the youth cast writes, produces and performs an original musical based on their lives and their ideas for change. In addition, they design and lead community action projects on issues of concern to them in order to take their creative vision for change into the world.

Through the program, our young people develop skills in cross-cultural understanding, non-violent conflict resolution, leadership, community responsibility, self-efficacy, and the performing arts and achieve academic advancement. Our aim is to increase the confidence and independence of teenagers as they move into adulthood, and to create the next generation of creative leadership that is capable of unifying our diverse populations to resolve the most pressing social issues that we face.

Stathis Grapsas Prison Workshops

Stathis has conducted workshops with Juvenile Offenders in the Avlona Special Detention Centre for Youth in Greece. Additionally, he has conducted workshops for prisoners in the Korydallos Psychiatric Prison of Athens, Greece. Now back in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Stathis has collaborated with a local remand facility and with the Northland Youth Centre for high-risk youth.

Storycatchers Theatre

Storycatchers Theatre is a youth development arts organization that prepares young people to make positive life choices through the process of writing, producing, and performing original musical theatre inspired by personal stories. By using performing arts to help youth find their own voices, connect to their own life stories, and learn from their peers, Storycatchers’ enables them to set goals, link decisions to consequences, and develop a roadmap to success.

Shakespeare & Company – Shakespeare in the Courts

After more than 26 years of working with area schools, Shakespeare & Company now collaborates with the Berkshire Juvenile Court on The Shakespeare Project. Adjudicated juvenile offenders work with Shakespeare & Company artists and participate in classes, rehearsals, and performances of scenes from Shakespeare’s plays. During the 10-14 week project, the participants explore Shakespeare’s text and prepare their own performance piece as part of the terms of their probation.

Synchronicity Theatre: Playmaking for Girls

Playmaking for Girls (PFG): PFG annually includes two-day workshops at Regional Youth Detention Centers, a summer program and public performance with girls on probation, an after-school program for middle-school girls, and a volunteer-led mentorship program that allows participants to remain connected to Synchronicity as they continue their life journeys. PFG creates a continuum of services impacting girls before, during and after social rehabilitation.

Voices Unbroken

Voices UnBroken believes in and nurtures the creative voice in all people.
Voices UnBroken helps participants identify dreams and goals.
Voices UnBroken respects, values and cares for our participants.
Voices UnBroken identifies and fosters leadership.
Voices UnBroken workshops focus on the belief that everyone has something to teach and everyone has something to learn.
Voices UnBroken is a non-judgmental organization. We value every person’s right to self-identify and we do our best to work with people’s judgments about the work we do and the people we serve.
Voices UnBroken is accountable to our participants and to our community.
Voices UnBroken is learning organization that is committed to documenting and evaluating our programs.
Voices UnBroken expects greatness!

Young in Prison

YiP is an international NGO that enables children and youth in conflict with the law to contribute positively to society through creative and sportive personal development programs in prison and after release. YiP further runs advocacy initiatives for and with youth in conflict with the law. YiP IN has programs in 5 countries on three different continents: Colombia, Kenya, Malawi, the Netherlands and South Africa.

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