The work done in the Barlinnie special unit and other similar projects proves to me personally that rehabilitation through the arts works and any government with a glimmer of humanity in its policy on prisons would see this also and put into practice what other countries have implemented and proved that this approach works.
Much has to be said about the concept of rehabilitation through the arts, someone who finds they have a talent in the music fields many areas self-esteem will greatly improve, indeed someone finding out they have a talent for any of the arts the same can be said.
The arts forces us to look inside ourselves and then through the medium of the arts in whatever form brings it forth onto paper, song or verse and even stone, when we sculpte.
The arts as a whole has the power to change individuales radically and people who were once very violent and hostile people change into an almost unrecognisable version of themselves, indeed i feel and would agree that the true self comes to the fore.
This is a short video of Johnny in the Barlinnie special unit working on his sculpture ‘The Burden of the Poll Tax’.
The ‘Poll Tax’ was a tax introduced by the tory government of the early 90’s and was rolled out in Scotland first and was grossly unfair. Politican Tommy Sheridan and his team of Actvists took the sculpture and it sat in George Square in Glasgow for a week or so before being returned to the ‘Barlinnie Special Unit’. You can read more about the poll tax and the political storm that surrounded it in the following link.