Arts in Corrections / Arte en las correccionales

These feature reports are a segment of the series Arts in Corrections, sponsored by the Alliance for California Traditional Arts – ACTA – with funding from the California Arts Council.  ACTA has worked for the past twenty years to help cultural traditions thrive around the state. ACTA’s programs help people connect with their heritage and make their traditions being central part in their lives. Arts in Corrections is one of those programs that teaches inmates the art of telling their stories through traditional arts and music.

For this series, reporters Tena Rubio and Rubén Tapia went inside several state prisons in California to document the sounds of arts workshops and talk to participant inmates about their experience.

Cristian Rodriguez,  esta contento porque ahora si tienen verdaderos maestros para ensenarles a tocar la guitarra. Foto de Ruben Tapia.

Prominent L.A. Musicians Share Talent and Hope with Prisoners

28 December, 2018

At Ironwood State Prison, and thanks to an award-winning Tex-Mex musician and a young trio and mariachi singer, a group of inmates are finding their long sentences more bearable.

Eugene Mitchell, de pie, practica junto al maestro Eduardo Martinez sentado. Piensa recuperar el tiem po peride en la cárcel y aspira a la reparación. Foto de Ruben Tapia

Afro-Colombian Drum Classes Motivate Inmates and Inspire Teachers

21 December, 2018

A group of inmates at a medium-security prison in the city of Norco in Riverside County say that taking Afro-Caribbean drum lessons has helped to alleviate the racial tensions common in prisons.

Matt  Brownwell, con entusiasmo participa en el ejercicio final de esa clase de jarana.

In Jarana Classes, Prisoners Learn about History and Racial Prejudice

14 December, 2018

For a group of inmates at the Norco prison, weekends are special. At this facility, located near Los Angeles, some inmates leave their cells for three hours to take classes on jarana.

Avenal State Prison interns at drumming class.  Photo by Peter Merts, courtesy of the California Arts Council.

Drumming in Corrections

12 December, 2018

Abdullatif Bell Tounkara, a master musician and teacher, is leading a group of men behind bars in a drum circle. Radio Bilingue’s Tena Rubio reports from Avenal.

Foto de Peter Merts, cortesía del Concejo de las Artes de California.

Singing in Corrections

11 December, 2018

At 79, the Mexican-American singer Carmencristina Moreno is taking center stage inside a makeshift classroom — performing and teaching in front of an unlikely crowd — Men serving time at Avenal State Prison. Radio Bilingue’s Tena Rubio has more.

Luis J Rodriguez at 2011 NBCC Awards
Foto: David Shankbone via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Storytelling in Corrections

10 December, 2018

By the time Luis J. Rodriguez was twelve years old, he was already a veteran gangbanger in East Los Angeles. At 18, he was hooked on heroine and had been in jail nearly a dozen times.


Radio Bilingüe Reporters

For this series, reporters Tena Rubio and Rubén Tapia went inside several state prisons in California to document the sounds of arts workshops and talk to participant interns about their experience.


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