On Talk of the Bay, host Suki Wessling interviews two people who have worked for thirty years to bring the arts to prisons around California. Jack Bowers is a Senior Arts Mentor in the William James Association. Claire Braz-Valentine has taught poetry in prisons for more than 30 years and is the recipient of the first William James Association Lifetime Achievement Award. Claire and Jack met when they were both new to teaching in prisons, and in the last thirty years they have weathered the ups and downs of public support for the rehabilitation of prisoners. In that time, they have seen countless examples of why the arts are vital to our society. Prisoners find a positive identity through their pursuit of the arts and show a marked reduction in disciplinary rates. When they rejoin the outside world, they are armed with more than just a stack of poems or new skills in sketching. They bring a focus and sense of self-worth that helps them pursue a meaningful life outside of prison.
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