Why should anyone bother looking at a prisoner’s art?

The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the  Nelson Mandela Rules) state:

4 1. The purposes of a sentence of imprisonment or similar measures deprivative of a person’s liberty are primarily to protect society against crime and to reduce recidivism. Those purposes can be achieved only if the period of imprisonment is used to ensure, so far as possible, the reintegration of such persons into society upon release so that they can lead a law-abiding and self-supporting life.

2. To this end, prison administrations … should offer education, vocational training and work … including those of a remedial, moral, spiritual, social and health- and sports-based nature…”

Prison Fellowship is specifically concerned with the welfare of prisoners and has developed numerous programmes to this end. It is particularly known for the Art from Inside program, which is available to all prisoners.

Great benefits are to be had by providing prisoners the opportunity to engage with Prison Fellowship as a community organisation, to explore talents that they may not otherwise be aware of, and to benefit from the remarkable sense of achievement by having their art displayed in a beautiful gallery for members of the public to view and appreciate.

The life transforming effect on prisoners, former prisoners (who are also eligible to participate), on family and friends of artists who have participated in the art competition and exhibition since it started in Australia in 2003 are many and varied.