Dear friends and supporters of Prison Arts,
An urgent situation has developed from the current state budget crisis with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitationâ€™s response being to layoff staff in education, vocational, substance abuse, and other inmatesÂ programs – including the one Artist Facilitator at each prison.
We need your help â€“ the Artist Facilitator position is critical to continuing arts programming with any consistency and quality and we want to raise our voices to powers-that-be.
Would you be willing to write a letter against cutting the Institutional Artist Facilitator position and thus the elimination of Arts in Corrections?
Send your letters to:
Laurie Brooks (we want to collect all the letters), Executive Director, William James Association, P.O. Box 1632, Santa Cruz, CA, 95061, email@example.com
Nettie Sabelhaus, Senate Rules and Appointments, State Capitol, Room 420, Sacramento 95614, Nettie.Sabelhaus@sen.ca.gov
Elizabeth Siggins, Chief Deputy Secretary Adult Programs, CA Department of Corrections & Rehabilitation, 1515 S Street, Suite 501S, Sacramento, CA, 95811, firstname.lastname@example.org
Scott Kernan, Undersecretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA, A 94283-0001
Matthew Cate, Secretary, California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, P.O. Box 942883, Sacramento, CA, A 94283-0001
Write to your Senators and Assemblypersons – find them with you zip code at www.legislature.ca.gov
Please send me copies of what you send and let me know if I can help you in this effort!
Thank you so much for your support,
Director, William James Association
Here’s a great example letter from Judith:
Dear Ms. Sabelhaus:
Given Californiaâ€™s various crises, I realize that every state agency must make massive cuts. I urge you to bring to the legislatureâ€™s attention that the CDCR should not cut Arts in Corrections. The program has minuscule cost and vast positive impact.
Arts in Corrections provides a large number of prisoners with programming that teaches transferrable skills, reduces tension, and encourages deep self-reflection and responsibility â€“ all for the cost of the salary of only one low-range state employee. The professional artists who teach through Arts in Corrections either volunteer or are paid through grants given by individuals and non-profits.
I taught through Arts in Corrections in the 1980s when the program was much more fully funded. MyÂ Disguised as a Poem: My Years Teaching Poetry at San Quentin is a memoir about this experience (copy enclosed). For the past decade I have spoken nationally about prison and prison arts and so I am able to see â€“ in state after state â€“ the respect with which Californiaâ€™s Arts in Corrections is held.
To lose Arts in Corrections â€“ a program that costs the state virtually nothing â€“ would be to lose a program that positively impacts large numbers of prisoners and one that is a revered model in the field.
Thanks for your consideration.