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Dreaming Inside: An evaluation of a creative writing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison

Journal Article


Abstract


  • Arts-based prison programs are often viewed as hobbies or as activities that have little impact on prisoner rehabilitation according to conventional understandings of the term. This is despite growing evidence that arts-based programs can assist with learning retention and can improve self-confidence and ways of coping with emotions. Generally, arts practices have been found to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have grown up or live in urban areas with asserting and strengthening their cultural identity, but we know little about the effects of arts-based prison programs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoner wellbeing. This article focuses on a creative writing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners at Junee Correctional Centre, New South Wales. The program, Dreaming Inside, has produced seven volumes of poetry and stories. This article combines and reports findings from two evaluations of the program, one using program feedback forms and the other using semi-structured interviews with prisoners who participated in the program. The themes that emerged from both evaluations affirm the program’s efficacy in improving prisoner self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing, and in reigniting and strengthening cultural engagement.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Hanley, N., & Marchetti, E. (2020). Dreaming Inside: An evaluation of a creative writing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 53(2), 285-302. doi:10.1177/0004865820905894

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85081590921

Start Page


  • 285

End Page


  • 302

Volume


  • 53

Issue


  • 2

Abstract


  • Arts-based prison programs are often viewed as hobbies or as activities that have little impact on prisoner rehabilitation according to conventional understandings of the term. This is despite growing evidence that arts-based programs can assist with learning retention and can improve self-confidence and ways of coping with emotions. Generally, arts practices have been found to assist Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people who have grown up or live in urban areas with asserting and strengthening their cultural identity, but we know little about the effects of arts-based prison programs on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoner wellbeing. This article focuses on a creative writing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander prisoners at Junee Correctional Centre, New South Wales. The program, Dreaming Inside, has produced seven volumes of poetry and stories. This article combines and reports findings from two evaluations of the program, one using program feedback forms and the other using semi-structured interviews with prisoners who participated in the program. The themes that emerged from both evaluations affirm the program’s efficacy in improving prisoner self-esteem, confidence and wellbeing, and in reigniting and strengthening cultural engagement.

Publication Date


  • 2020

Citation


  • Hanley, N., & Marchetti, E. (2020). Dreaming Inside: An evaluation of a creative writing program for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men in prison. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Criminology, 53(2), 285-302. doi:10.1177/0004865820905894

Scopus Eid


  • 2-s2.0-85081590921

Start Page


  • 285

End Page


  • 302

Volume


  • 53

Issue


  • 2