Graduation Day at Wasco State Prison
28 Inmates graduate from Zoot's program at Wasco State Prison called "His Story in The Making"
The program teaches inmates through storytelling and theatre improvisation how to better tell their stories for parole board hearings, job interviews, and family reunification- three important factors for success outside of prison. Across the state, recidivism rates (the rate in which felons return to prison) is over 80%, but that rate is less than half for inmates who participate in the Arts in Corrections programs, administered through the California Arts Council and local providers. In the case of Zoot's program, it is presented by the Arts Council of Fresno. Zoot helped bring back the arts program in 2014 as CEO of the Muckenthaler Cultural Center, after spending almost three decades working in the program as an artist and program manager.
The vast majority of inmates in prisons are getting out someday soon. How do you want them returning to your communities? Rehabilitated or just better criminals? Programs like this work to help former offenders find jobs, reunify with family and create productive lives outside the gates.