Inside Out

Inside Out

Crime, prisons and offenders – the role the arts can play

“Prison works!” But does it?

Thanks to the media, our perceptions of prisoners simply as the ‘baddies’ of society, makes it easy to justify ignoring the plight of Britain’s estimated 85,000 inmates. But with the help of compelling statistics, alternative viewpoints and insights into the real issues behind the recurring cycle of crime, prison and re-offending, Angela Findlay presents a persuasive argument for why prisons aren’t working and why it matters to all of us.

Angela’s talk is extraordinary and very thought provoking. At the age of twenty-one she walked into a prison with a portfolio of her murals under her arm offering an art project to the prisoners. Two weeks later and faced with a 30’ wall, two Brazilian coke smugglers, a bank robber and a murderer, she knew “This is it! This is what I want to do”.

Using painting as a tool, Angela worked alone in locked rooms with prisoners ranging from terrorists and rapists to petty thieves and drug addicts. Sitting in their cells or in the non-judgmental atmosphere of the art room, she became a confidante for many prisoners, gaining their trust, hearing their (sometimes horrific) stories and encouraging them to make changes in their outlook, attitudes and subsequently their goals.

Her extraordinary slides of prisoners and their art reveal how the power of creativity can break through negative patterns and conditioning and build the vital self-esteem and will that is required in true and lasting rehabilitation.

Angela’s talks are moving, informative and highly original. Interspersed with accounts of humorous or potentially horrifying situations she keeps audiences of all ages utterly engrossed. The talks challenge normal perceptions of good and bad, offering people the opportunity to (re-) consider a wide range of moral, social, and ethical issues. Her compassionate understanding of those deemed the “baddies” of society help young people to see how easy it is to be led down the wrong path and so inspires them to have the courage to follow their own hearts and find their true vocation.

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