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Congressman Ted Lieu

Representing the 33rd District of California

CONGRESSMAN LIEU STATEMENT ON HOUSE JUDICIARY PASSAGE OF ARTS IN PRISON PROVISION

February 11, 2016
Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON - Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 759, the Recidivism Risk Reduction Act by a voice vote.  The Judiciary Committee included Congressman Ted Lieu’s (D | Los Angeles County) request for arts language, and Section 5 of the bill now lists “art organizations” as groups the Bureau of Prisons must enter into partnerships with to reduce recidivism. 

 On passage of this vital arts in prison provision, Mr. Lieu issued the following statement:

“I thank Congressman Jason Chaffetz and the other members of the House Judiciary Committee for including arts language into H.R. 759, the Recidivism Risk Reduction Act.  Arts education in prisons has a history of proven results in improved behavior among inmates, fewer disciplinary actions, cost savings, and reduced recidivism. 

“The Actors’ Gang, run by Oscar winning actor Tim Robbins, has had huge success in California in reviving the California’s Arts-in-Corrections (AIC) program, which brings visual, performing, literary, media, and fine craft disciplines to California correctional institutions. The Actors’ Gang’s Prison Project, active in six of California’s state prisons, has seen real change in the inmates they have worked with.  Their goals include reducing recidivism and in-prison violence and also increasing self-esteem and developing better emotional and social skills, and the prison captains have seen remarkable changes in the emotional and social skills of inmates – setting them up for better success in society. 

“I am hopeful with the inclusion of arts language in H.R. 759, more arts programs similar to the Actors’ Gang’s Prison Project will be implemented on the federal level.”

PRAISE FOR CONGRESSMAN LIEU’S ARTS IN PRISON WORK

“The Actors' Gang is proud to partner with our amazing Congressman Ted Lieu in this push to get the Arts included in this important piece of legislation. We look forward to this Bill being the start of including the Arts in all aspects of Education and Rehabilitation, areas that are often lacking access to this essential part of Criminal Justice Reform that is evidence-based, fiscally responsible and extremely effective as a tool to increase public safety and change the culture of incarceration in this country. We look forward to continuing the effort with Congressman Lieu to raise public awareness about what the Arts can do in this space and make sure innovative programming ideas have a seat at the table.”

-Sabra Williams, Director of Outreach and The Prison Project, The Actors' Gang.

"Arts programs in prisons and creative arts therapies are proven to help people’s lives.  I congratulate Rep. Ted Lieu for his leadership work to bring the success of his work in California state prisons as a model for the rest of country in tapping the transformative power of the arts.”

-Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of Americans for the Arts.

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