ACTORS DENNIS APEL AND RYAN DUNN
FROM "CROSSING THE LINE."
PHOTO BY CYNTHIA SEMEL.
Here's how this week's arts and culture piece begins:
How the Poetic Justice Project is ‘unlocking hearts and minds’ through prison theater
The Poetic Justice Project (PJP), based in Santa Maria, “advances social justice by engaging formerly incarcerated people in the creation of original theatre that examines crime, punishment, and redemption.”
The PJP began in 2009, in conjunction with the William James Association’s Prison Arts Project.
The stats are staggering.
One in 104 American adults is behind bars.
The State of California alone has added 21 state prisons in 30 years, with the prison population expanding from 23,000 to 170,000.
Taxpayers pay $11 billion per year to operate the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Our recidivism rate is its 70 percent — twice the national average.
Enter Deborah Tobola, the PJP’s founding artistic director, and a widely published poet and children’s book author. Tobola, 62, worked for more than 12 years teaching writing and managing an arts program in California prisons.
READ THE WHOLE PIECE HERE.