2019 – 06 – arts project
Sometime last year, one of the tabloids obtained the amount of funding the Arts Council gave this project; Freedom of Information Act request? Predictably, they vilified me and the project. These sorts of personal attacks used to bother me in the early days but I have now come to realise that it always comes from a mediocre (at best) ‘journalist’ who is either too lazy or too incompetent to write a proper piece of journalism. Are their readers really that naive to believe what they read in these papers (see the next blog)?
Part of me doesn’t want to dignify their ramblings with any kind of response but another part of me always wants to correct the inaccuracies. Unfortunately, as I write this, I cannot find the cuttings; I think I may have packed it away or ‘filed’ it under ‘trash’. However, I can remember two claims; firstly, I did not receive one penny from the Arts Council. I put the application together but it was submitted by a member of staff , in their name. The project received the funding: the money was managed by the member of staff.
Secondly, this was not a vanity project; this was not ego driven. The Arts is proven to rehabilitate and reduce offending. In those terms, the Arts Council funding was not a waste of taxpayers money. Some people have to ask themselves if they believe vilifying prisoners for doing positive work (think villagers with flaming torches and pitchforks) is going to reduce reoffending or if supporting these kinds of proven initiatives will result in less crime; maybe they don’t want crime rates to reduce.
My own opinion, based on my 16 years of prison experience, is that it is the prisoners who find their passion, be it learning a musical instrument, bricklaying, car mechanics or quantum physics, who stay out of trouble; but, hey, what do I know compared to a tabloid journalist?
Be happy, be safe (and don’t waste your money and time buying and reading trashy, hate and lie -filled redtops.)
Graham Coutts, 9th April 2019