Rehabilitation Through the Arts

Creating an opportunity for incarcerated people to express themselves through various art forms

Grantee Cohort Fall 2017, Fall 2018

Location New York State

For over 20 years, Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) has worked year-round in maximum- and medium-security prisons to develop a supportive culture in which incarcerated people can explore their identity and express themselves through various art forms. RTA offers workshops and drop-in sessions in a range of artistic disciplines, including theater, dance, writing, and visual arts.

RTA currently operates in five New York State correctional facilities, including four men’s maximum- and medium-security prisons and Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, the state’s only maximum-security women’s prison.

Art for Justice helped RTA establish an additional program at Taconic Correctional Facility (a medium-security women’s prison), which placed RTA in two of the three women’s prisons in New York State. A further grant supported RTA’s teaching artists, its curriculum expansion in correctional facilities, and programmatic opportunities for alumni.

With their latest grant, RTA will launch a theatrical project based on the writings of the men and women incarcerated in New York State correctional facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. RTA members across six facilities provided powerful content that tells the story of prison life during the pandemic by shaping the material into a script with a dramatic arc. Rattlestick Theatre will support the effort with professional actors, provide their stage for filming and co-sponsor the virtual staging.