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29th May 2019 Sonya Dyer

National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance

Can you tell our readers a bit about what you do? 

The National Criminal Justice Arts Alliance (NCJAA) aims to ensure all those in the criminal justice system can engage with arts and culture as a springboard to positive change.  

We support a network of over 900 artists, organisations and criminal justice practitioners delivering innovative work across the country. We aim to influence policy, improve research, encourage effective practice and raise the profile of arts and culture in the criminal justice system.  

The NCJAA is managed by Clinks, the national infrastructure organisation supporting the voluntary sector working in the criminal justice system. 

What we know: 

  • Art, design and creativity have the power to transform lives – enabling personal development and fostering positive relationships 
  • Arts and cultural opportunities can help reduce crime by unlocking untapped talent, improving wellbeing and boosting employability 
  • Exhibitions and performances engage wider communities and challenge negative stereotypes about people with criminal records 
  • Art produced by diverse and unheard voices enhances art and culture for all. 


What is the best way for people to approach you? 

Join our network and sign up for our monthly mailing list  for all the latest news, events, resources and opportunities across the arts and criminal justice sectors. Check out our website, blogsand follow us on Twitterand Facebook . Come along to one of our events or training! 


What makes your organisation stand out? How do you make a difference to the sector? 

We champion the creative voice of those most excluded by society and act as a conduit between those ‘on the ground’ and policy-makers.  

Last year one of our network told us: “It is much easier being part of a collective voice when influencing than being a small, lone voice.” This collective effort has been recognised in parliament and the House of Lords, with arts now listed as a prison ‘expectation’ and championed in government reviews of education in prisons, and criminal justice recognised in the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport’s Culture White Paper. 

We host an award-winning online Evidence Library  of over 100 evaluations of the impact of arts and culture interventions in criminal justice settings. Our good practice offer includes a one-day ‘Introduction to arts in prisons’ training course and mentoring scheme, which matches experienced practitioners with those new to the sector. 


What new initiatives do you have coming up? 

Joining Arts Council England’s National Portfolio has allowed us to unlock new opportunities to influence policy and develop our network. Our new Regional Development Officer has built relationships in the West Midlands and increased black, Asian and minority ethnic representation across the network, which we will continue to build on with a further focus on North West England in 2019 – 2020. 

We are soon launching new guidance for artists and cultural organisations wanting to work in criminal justice settings, to support the growing number of stakeholders interested in the sector to deliver good and effective practice. 

Over the next year we will develop an ambitious, large-scale research project with the University of Cambridge, ‘Inspiring Futures’, which aims to bring about a measurable change in both the credibility and the reach of arts projects within the criminal justice system. 


What else would you like our readers to know about you and your work? 

See our four minute film to find out why what we do matters.

Image: Intermission Youth Theatre at NCJAA conference 2019. Credit: Elijah Thompson 
| Published:2019

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