In a stirring segment that aired on the Today Show, Art for Justice grantee Rehabilitation Through The Arts (RTA) demonstrated the power art has to transform lives that have been disrupted by mass incarceration. Inmates who participate in RTA’s programs are offered in-prison workshops in performing and visual arts.
Charles Moore was an RTA participant while serving in Sing Sing Correctional Facility. He was released in 2016 and is now RTA’s operations manager. During the segment he explained RTA’s purpose.
“The goal of an arts program in prison is we use the creative arts to help change our participants’ life in some way. We focus on soft skills such as communication, team building. Hopefully they’ll improve their life while incarcerated so that they will better adjust and transition once they are released.”
Inmates involved in RTA put on productions including plays and hip-hop dance performances.
Joseph “Flash” Occhione, a workshop participant who was in a gang for more than 20 years before his incarceration, shared the impact RTA has had on his life.
“I get to feel human again. I get a chance to be myself without being looked at as [a] stereotypical criminal.”