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Cross government support for arts sector giving people with criminal records a second chance

Cross government support for arts sector giving people with criminal records a second chance

Click here to read the full press release (pdf)

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) is delighted that senior government ministers, along with Arts Council England and major arts and culture organisations, are set to lead the way in supporting people with criminal records gain skills and find employment.

The Secretary of State for Justice and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport met with leading experts to discuss the role of the arts and creative skills in criminal justice settings, and consider initiatives such as Ban the Box.

Key arts, culture and media organisations were enthusiastic and committed to adopting Ban the Box principles. Arts Council England has made a further commitment to funds for a possible place-based pilot programme, which seeks to build understanding of how the cultural sector can support the employability of prisoners and former prisoners.

Alison Frater, Chair of the NCJAA, commented:

It is clear that more can be done to support people coming out of prison find meaningful work. Banning the Box is the first step towards this. The creative and cultural sectors are leading innovators – recognising that talent comes from all corners of society. We are delighted that the government departments have come together to discuss this important agenda and are excited about the potential to provide real opportunities for people in this dynamic sector.”

Mags Patten, Executive Director, Communication and Public Policy, Arts Council England, added:

Creative talent can flourish anywhere, even in the most challenging of circumstances, and it can be transformative. We’ve seen first-hand how creativity has helped rehabilitate offenders, and how creative projects have brought people together for the first time, creating safe, strong, and bonded communities. We are proud to support Ban the Box, which will further break down barriers for people with convictions looking to develop their talent and skills within the creative industries.”

Image courtesy of Synergy Theatre Project