Recreation Therapy and the Prison Population

Recreation Therapy and the Prison Population

  1. How can art therapy and yoga benefit the prison population?

Art therapy together with yoga are some of the activities that are helpful to prisoners. According to Saleh, Bradford and Brodsky (2021), art therapy allows prisoners to exercise their creativity, which in turns enables them to use space, colors, and shapes to express themselves. As such, prisoners can use art therapy to express and elaborate their experiences. In the same way, yoga can help the prison population in stress as well as anger management. Essentially, yoga entails meditation together with mental focus and has been established as an effective strategy of managing violent behaviors among inmates (Saleh et al., 2021).

  1. Do you think it is safe for inmates from the population to participate in Art Therapy and Yoga?

Despite the clearly identifiable benefits that yoga and art therapy confer to the prison population, there are concerns about safety of inmates if such activities are allowed. These concerns largely apply to art therapy, which entails engaging in creative work using art materials. If, for example, inmates have uncontrolled access to sharp objects such as knives and scissors as well as lighting materials, they could endanger the lives of their fellow inmates and prison officers when violent behaviors suddenly develop. Likewise, unless under close supervision, inmates could use yoga belts to commit suicide and other harmful acts. For these reasons, my opinion is that yoga and art therapy should be allowed only with close supervision and controlled access to materials.

  1. What is the most interesting you learned about art and yoga in the prison population?

The most interesting lesson obtained regarding art and yoga in the prison population is that though there are safety concerns, there are numerous benefits that inmates stand to gain. Besides reducing depression, stress and anxiety, art and yoga boost are effective tools for fostering behavioral change. I have learnt that both activities can help the prison population to correct and overcome the criminal behaviors for which they were incarcerated.

  1. Will Yoga and Art Therapy allow inmates from the prison population to express themselves positively and provide outlets for them to communicate positively?

There is evidence that yoga and art therapy helps inmates to communicate positively and express themselves in a better way. Specifically, art therapy boosts inmates listening together with communication skills, enabling them to express themselves better. Similarly, yoga improves inmates’ mood, meaning that their communication abilities are also enhanced (Middleton, Harris & Ackerman, 2019).


Middleton, L., Harris, D. A., & Ackerman, A. R. (2019). A mixed-methods process evaluation of the art of yoga project for girls in custody. The Prison Journal99(4_suppl), 38S-60S.

Saleh, F., Bradford, J. & Brodsky, D. (2021). Sex offenders: identification, risk assessment, treatment, and legal issues. Oxford University Press.

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