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Previous studies have highlighted the importance of having gender-responsive programs for women involved in the criminal justice system, that address their different needs, separate from men. Formerly incarcerated women face many challenges as they transition from prison back into society. There are an increasing number of artists with an interest in providing arts programming for this special population as a tool for rehabilitation and transformation. Using website analyses, survey responses, and interview transcriptions, this comparative qualitative study explores why and how three different arts organizations – Poetic Justice Project, Prison Creative Arts Project, and the Judy Dworin Performance Project – use various art approaches to help formerly incarcerated women transition from prison back into society. Although these organizations are limited in resources, my findings suggest that the arts programs provide a community of support for formerly incarcerated women, increase their self-sufficiency, and increase public awareness about incarceration and those affected.


Community Partner: Judy Dworin Performance Project