Scoping arts in criminal justice in Buckinghamshire

20 November 2020

In October 2019, the Rothschild Foundation asked the National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) to embark on a year-long local practice development project to scope arts in criminal justice settings in Buckinghamshire.

This work maintains the Foundation’s place-based ambitions and our focus on the arts as a social good particularly among disadvantaged communities. Through a series of focus groups, surveys and interviews with leaders in arts and criminal justice organisations, delivered before and during lockdown, the NCJAA has developed recommendations for how the Foundation could focus further investment.

The NCJAA’s insights are captured in a new report entitled Scoping models of good practice, fostering collaborative working and driving sustainable models of delivery for arts in criminal justice across Buckinghamshire.

This exploration has found that while there is arts in criminal justice expertise in the area, there is potential for a larger scale, more systemic and joined up network of best practice in arts in criminal justice across the county. There is need for more creative activity in prisons in Buckinghamshire which could be facilitated through sector-specific training and new models of collaboration. Alongside these findings, the report identifies priority themes and principles of good practice that stakeholders agreed were important for successful arts activity in Buckinghamshire.

Rebecca Hammond, Director of NCJAA comments:

“The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) represents a network of over 900 individuals and organisations delivering creative interventions to people in the criminal justice system.

The Foundation has provided us with an opportunity to develop a model for the long-term, sustainable delivery of quality arts in criminal justice settings in Buckinghamshire and beyond. At a time when these activities are never more needed, we look forward to using our report findings to build on existing arts in criminal justice activities and expertise in the area.”

Delivering high quality creative activities in criminal justice settings has always taken commitment, innovative thinking and resilience to deliver. The pandemic has made that task even greater with the arts sector in crisis, and prisons largely locked down. Yet there has been huge demand for in-cell arts activities and resources from prison staff and residents, and the arts in criminal justice sector along with the NCJAA has stepped up to the challenge to adapt and deliver.

© National Criminal Justice Arts / Erika Flowers