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Prisoners drum their way to a better future in Taiwan

Prisoners in a Taiwanese prison are benefiting from the inclusion of an arts programme as part of their rehabilitation.
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A Taiwanese prison is one of a growing number of security complexes around the world that is embracing rehabilitation programs that involve the performing arts.

Changhua Prison, which houses about 2,800 18 to 25-year-olds convicted of serious crimes including murder, rape, violence and drug abuse, is adopting new ways of engaging with prisoners to improve their mental wellbeing and dispositions.

One of the most popular and successful projects in the prison is the famous U Theatre ensemble, which includes drummers and dancers.

Utilising aspects of Buddhism and Tai Chi, the aim is to encourage prisoners to reform themselves through banging on drums in a rhythmic and controlled fashion and embrace arts to calm their often volatile personalities.

One 24-year-old convict, who is serving time for armed robbery, told the BBC: "I was just doing some stupid ass things out there. Since I got here I started to play drums and that really changed me."

He added: "We get to do Tai chi, like Chinese martial arts. We get to meditate; that helps us mentally. Our minds are more clear. I just feel more peaceful in my mind."

In Venezuela, Coro Prison's orchestra programme has been such a success that it not only has led to drastic improvements in behaviour of people participating in music activities, but has become one of the most popular activities for inmates.

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Posted on 11 Aug 2011 11:58 to category : Instruments News

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