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Culture can help to offer second chances, says Jeremy Wright MP

Culture can help to offer second chances, says Jeremy Wright MP

The Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport today recognised the value of arts in prisons in a speech announcing the winners of the Cultural Development Fund.

Speaking on the ‘Value of Culture’ at the Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Jeremy Wright MP evidenced the impact the arts can have on development and wellbeing, and celebrated the UK’s cultural and creative industries’ record contribution to the economy in 2017. He spoke of his time as prisons minister and the change he saw when people in criminal justice settings engaged in creative activity.

He said:

So culture can offer us opportunities, teach us about ourselves and even help to keep us healthy.

But it can also help to offer us second chances. I had the privilege of serving as Minister for Prisons and Rehabilitation for two years.

In that time I came across offenders who painted, sculpted and even sang opera as part of their rehabilitation. And in many cases it worked.

It worked because those things provided an outlet, they offered a sometimes new experience of excelling at something, and for some, indicated a lawful way to make a living.

We can all benefit from access to the arts and we should all be able to.”

Read the speech in full here

Image courtesy of UK Parliament, CC BY 3.0