Tools for Artists

COMING SOON: an original toolkit built by Ohio Prison Arts Connection about the practical, logistical, and emotional elements of leading or facilitating arts programs in prison.

Resources to help artists thrive

Greater Columbus Arts Council's Workshop on Taxes for Artists Passcode: WvS.+I*7

Web resources

On person-first language from Prison Studies Project.

A study from The Marshall Project of the various identifiers used to reference people who have experienced incarceration.

And a compendium from The Osborne Association of hashtags and additional resources about person-first language.

About teaching in prison

From Inside Higher Ed: an essay titled "Learning from Prison".

From Chicago's Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project.

Vern’s Rules, a resource from California Arts in Corrections/William James Association: “A Prisoner’s Rules for Accountable Arts Engagement” This list was created by Vern McKee, an incarcerated man who contributed in valuable ways to developing California's robust Arts-in-Corrections program in the early 1980s. His list of rules for people coming in from the outside is practical, and speaks volumes about what is at stake in opening up space for the arts in the carceral context.

2009 video of writers, artists, and activists talking about their work in prisons.

From Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project in Chicago - publishers who accept submissions from incarcerated people.

From Springboard for the Arts in Minneapolis/St Paul - Resources for Artists in Prison

From Prison + Neighborhood Arts Project in Chicago - “10 Things You Should Know About Prisons and the People in Them”

An essay commissioned by Americans for the Arts titled “Art, Prisons, and Rehabilitation” that looks at both the history and the near future of American mass incarceration, and makes suggestions about the role the arts can play.

About mass incarceration

Here is the link to the Prison Policy Initiative's visualization of how many people are locked up in the US.

Here is an informative essay that makes the case for arts-enriched restorative justice practices, which has been shown to deter young people from activities that contribute to incarceration.

An amazing reading list compiled by the Justice Arts Coalition.


Justice Arts Coalition

National Alliance of Higher Education in Prison

Prison University Project Here is their recently published, extensive guide to best practices for higher education in prison, written in partnership with the NAHEP.

[The ACLU’s Smart Justice Initiative] ( The [50 State Blueprint( is a valuable visualization of issues and proposed solutions for the levels of incarceration in each state. Here is Ohio.

On art and restorative justice


PEN America’s Handbook for Writers in Prison