Sara Lee

Freeing spirits through music

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Informations and abstract

Keywords: Creative Opportunities; Transferable Skills; Active Engagement; Partnerships; Prison and Community Work; Progression from Custody to Community; Support to Ex-Offenders; Impact Studies; Reoffending Rates.

Operating since 1996 by delivering 240 projects in over 50 prisons in the UK, the trust Music in Prisons (MiP) has shown the powerful, transformative impact music can have on the lives of disadvantaged people in and on the edges of the criminal justice system, by bringing groups of prisoners together to form bands and write original music. This collaborative process, resulting in high-quality, emotional performances, also helps participants to develop important key skills which can help them in the future. MiP has diversified to take the benefits of these creative projects to ex-prisoners resettling in the community, and to young people at risk, building a body of evidence about the effects its projects have. A recent evaluation into its work with ex-prisoners found that its impact on reducing reoffending rates and supporting participants into employment resulted in a social return on investment of £4.85 for every £1 spent. The author discusses how the very individual experience of prisoners embracing music can have long-reaching benefits for society as a whole by helping them on the journey to becoming valued members of the community.

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