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Community Arts Programming & Outreach (CAPO) Project

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Jail Guitar Doors

Nonprofit

JGD-USA’s Community Arts Programming & Outreach (CAPO) Project is a high-quality, innovative reenetry and diversion program for youth who have been engaged in the justice system. An extension of its existing music programs, the goal of the CAPO is to create arts opportunities that foster the positive socio-emotional, behavioral, and decision-making tools to help youth fight recidivism and prepare them for successful employment.



Please describe the mission of your organization.

Jail Guitar Doors USA (JGD-USA) seeks a more fair and just America. A nonprofit organization, JGD-USA provides rehabilitative songwriting workshops to help incarcerated individuals develop essential life skills that will support them both while incarcerated and when they return to their community.

In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

  • The Arts for Incarcerated Youth Network

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

AIYN and JGD-USA have partnered for the past five years to bring music programs to youth in juvenile justice facilities. While this work has been impactful, youth in these programs have expressed a deep desire to continue their art-learning experiences beyond their detention. AIYN and JGD-USA are expanding their existing relationship to close these gaps to better these youth for successful return to their families and communities.

JGD-USA will be responsible for the development and delivery of CAPO art-learning activities, and daily operation of the program. Leveraging its relationships with juvenile reentry resources, AIYN will be the primary connector between system-engaged youth with CAPO.

What is the need you’re responding to?

According to a report from the Children’s Defense Fund – California published in December, 2019, Los Angeles County is home to the largest probation department in the world and maintains one of the highest rates of youth incarceration in the nation. Justice-involved youth often have an array of identities and needs, yet are less likely than others to access the tools and skills critical for their success as they return to their community and prepare to enter adulthood. As a result, many of them do not successfully complete their probation, do not complete their education, develop mental health issues, engage in substance abuse, struggle with unemployment, and have a high recidivism rate. JGD-USA understands that arts programs are a critical intervention that address trauma for youth who are incarcerated, and a foundational strategy for successful reentry.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?

Arts education programs in prisons have emerged as a powerful tool to support inmates in developing the skills that will benefit them both during and post-incarceration. While programming like this is still rare in, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation sees arts and cultural programming as a key tenet to that last word in their title: rehabilitation.

JGD-USA understands that arts programs are a critical intervention that address trauma for youth who are incarcerated, and a foundational strategy for successful reentry. For the past ten years, JGD-USA has provided impactful, rehabilitative songwriting workshops designed to promote healing, socio-emotional development and the skills that will support their successful return to civilian life. Since it was founded, JGD-USA has provided songwriting workshops and donated hundreds of guitars to justice-involved clients in over 137 federal and state prisons, county jail, youth camps and detention/reentry facilities.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?

100
Direct impact
10,000
Indirect impact

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

For many, CAPO is first opportunity they’ve had to express themselves in a creative way. The benefits span from societal to individual impact. The skills and tools gained are an essential component of youths’ aftercare program. With a positive outlook toward future learning experiences, the goal is that youth seek to complete their education, a critical factor for reentry and reducing recidivism rates for juvenile offenders.

Learning about the myriad career paths in the music industry, and acquiring the skills to step into these jobs, prepares youth for employment. Coupled with mentor support, participants are in the unique position to gain a toe-hold in an industry for which they have developed a passion.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

Success factors for CAPO include:

  • Individual Impact – including but not limited to self-esteem, self-confidence, critical thinking, feelings of safety and interest in completing their education
  • Reduced Recidivism – percentage of youth who do not return to juvenile hall and/or complete probation during the program period
  • Preparation for employment – percentage of youth who are interested in, and secure, a creative economy career

JDG-USA’s current evaluation tools include participant journals, individual writing and group exercises, pre- and post satisfaction/knowledge survey evaluations and facilitator notes. Information from all of these sources are part of the review of participant progress and discussion of their goals. The sophistication and depth of assessment criteria grows in tandem with the growth of the participant and participants are expected to extend the assessment of their own work to include a holistic examination of their creative process. In becoming independent thinkers, they develop the ability to reflect on their own work, and the work of others, in a collaborative and as part of an interdependent whole, using the skills of communication and critical thinking.

Additionally, JGD-USA surveys its partners and appropriate stakeholders, in order to query any behavioral changes they might take note of in the participants, which covers areas such as violence, communication abilities and attitude issues.

Which of the play metrics will your submission impact?​

  • Prevalence of trauma and adverse childhood experiences
  • Crime rates

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?

  • LA is the best place to CREATE

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?

  • Access to the LA2050 community
  • Host public events or gatherings
  • Communications support

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