Calif. spends $2.5 million on inmate artists

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) - California is devoting $2.5 million to bring the arts to 14 state prisons as part of a program that actor Tim Robbins says can change inmates' lives.

Robbins has starred in movies including "The Shawshank Redemption," ''Bull Durham" and "Mystic River." He is also artistic director of the Actors' Gang Prison Project, which has offered theater arts programs in California prisons since 2006.

State arts and corrections officials announced seven contracts Thursday for Arts-in-Corrections programs.

In an interview with The Associated Press, Robbins says inmates who participate make fundamental changes and some are able to express their emotions for the first time.

Besides acting, the programs being funded over the next two years will include music, dance, creative writing, poetry, storytelling, painting, drawing and sculpture.


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