Rehabilitation Through the Arts (RTA) is a world leader in arts-in-corrections. Founded at Sing Sing Correctional Facility in 1996, RTA operates in six New York State maximum and medium security, men’s and women’s prisons in New York’s Hudson Valley, teaching a vibrant multi-disciplinary arts program in theatre, dance, music, writing and visual art. Theatrical productions as well as music and dance recitals are held for community guests, the prison population and families of RTA participants. While not strictly a performance-based program – operating at least a dozen workshops at any one time – productions are important as a collaborative exercise that builds skills in goal setting, problem-solving and discipline and gives participants an opportunity to demonstrate their determination to use their prison time productively.
RTA membership is based on community, a safe space in which prisoners find their voice, discover their talents, practice mutual respect and accountability, and reconnect with their own humanity. Participants build personal, social and cognitive skills critical to functioning in every aspect of life. RTA members are role models for the prison population, motivating many to head to the school building, rather than spend endless time in the yard.
RTA’s program is truly transformative. Compared to the national recidivism rate of 60% and the NYS average of 40%, fewer than 3% of RTA members return to prison – in fact, not a single participant has recidivated in the last 5+ years.