Safe Ground - Using drama to educate prisoners and young people at risk in the community


What’s Next for Arts in Criminal Justice?

On 4th December the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance held their annual conference at The National Theatre, with a focus on: ‘What’s next for arts in criminal justice?’ The conference provided an opportunity for individuals in the field to come together and explore the importance of arts in criminal justice. John Glen MP, Minister for Arts, Heritage and Tourism made a key note of the tension between dealing with crime and rehabilitating perpetrators, which is an important consideration regarding this matter.

Breakout session three explored digital innovation in criminal justice, whereby there is difficulty in accessing rehabilitative social networks for prisoners, due to limited admittance of digital technology in prisons. Gary Monaghan, trustee of Safe Ground, discussed the concept of in cell technology as an essential to promote reform and rehabilitation in a digital world. Gary spoke about phoning family members from in cell at a reduced call rate, as well as a digital hub. This digitalisation is currently rolling out into 21 prisons, which shows a step forward in terms of technology in prison.

Particularly memorable moments of the day included performances of The Listening Room and Hear. These pieces were highly engaging, exploring true stories of individuals whose lives were transformed by violent crime, and the voices of serving female prisoners. These performances were accompanied by key speakers about the closing of HMP Holloway. Erika’s ‘Postcards from Prison’ stood out as a unique way of understanding the everyday life of a prisoner through the arts.

To read more about the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance, please click here.


Written by Paige Barber


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