Patrick Facchinetti

Culture in prison: an European overview

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Personal Development; Re-Integration in Society; Formal and Informal Education; Cultural Spaces; Inter-Institutional Partnerships; Networking.

This comprehensive outline of culture in prisons in the European Union starts by providing the essential background information on legislation; it then goes on to highlight the art forms most frequently practiced in European prisons, along with their educational value in terms of promoting self-confidence and personal enrichment, and developing the social skills required for a successful re-integration in society. There are two preconditions, however, for these activities to be fully effective: the quality of cultural offer (entrusted to artists and professionals) and the creation of ad hoc spaces inside prisons. In economic terms, the value of culture in prison essentially lies in promoting changes in the personal agency of inmates and ex-inmates, which ultimately leads to higher desistance rates and lower prison overcrowding. The issues of funding streams and the remuneration of prisoners for their cultural work are also considered. The final part of the article provides an overview of cultural policies in prisons in England, Spain, Italy, Belgium and, more in detail, in France, where inter-institutional partnerships are particularly well developed.

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