Hooked on Hope: ARTs as Correction

For the past 15 months, I have been blogging about mental illness, addiction and the criminal justice system. Seventy or eighty percent of people who abuse drugs or alcohol also have a mental illness and some 40% of people with serious mental illnesses have been arrested in their lives. Psychiatric disorders are the only kind of illness that we, as a society, regularly respond to with handcuffs and incarceration instead of treatment and compassion.

In one of my recent posts I wrote about an exhibition in Los Angeles by inmate artists who have participated in prison art studio classes through “Arts in Corrections.” One of my dear friends suggested that I use my blog to write about ARTs as CORRECTION. In other words, using art–whether visual or the written word–to highlight the corrective experiences we all have in life.

I’d like to take this opportunity to correct or expand the focus of this blog. I will still write about mental health issues, programs that are successfully addressing addiction, and improved policies in our criminal justice system. But, I am not going to limit my focus to these. I’d like to blog about writers and artists who are using their “voice” to highlight the pertinent issues we are dealing with in this rapidly changing world.

I invite you to join in.

36 thoughts on “Hooked on Hope: ARTs as Correction

  1. Katherine Dering

    And why are our mentally ill sons, brothers, and friends ending up in jail, instead of humane residential treatment facilities for the mentally ill? We closed all the mental hospitals back in the 80′s, and now those with mental illness are ill served by the insufficient patchwork of short term evaluation stays at the local emergency room and release with a presciption the ill person probably won’t ever even fill.
    Join me and my family writing and speaking out for mental health care parity, including the recision of the IMD exclusion. My brother suffered from schizophrenia and getting proper care for him after the hospitals closed was next to impossible.

    1. Maureen Murdock Post author

      Thank you Katherine for your advocacy for those who suffer from mental illness. It’s important for all of us to continue to lobby our legislators and congresspeople to expand research and development of treatment for those who suffer from a brain disorder. And to write OpEd pieces bringing attention to positive treatments.

  2. Ann

    I will keep you and your son in my prayers for his continued recovery and your continued hope. Sincerely, Ann M. Devenezia

  3. wendykarasin

    Dear Maureen,
    What a beautifully honest review of a tough situation. I have written a memoir, different but not unsimilar, about life as a parent and daughter as I lost my parents three month apart. Life puts us through tough times, There is strength in our acceptance of these unwanted and unasked for challenges.

    1. Maureen Murdock Post author

      Wendy, I am sorry about your loss. I hope the writing of your memoir was healing; you’re right about the strength of acceptance in dealing with challenges in which we are powerless.

  4. Dee

    I never imagined that prison would become a reality for my son. I have learned through the priest that he is ready to become a productive member of society. His hearing is tommorrow and he may be getting out. He has been in one month now. I am glad to know that he is taking his medications again, and has developed a routine in jail. For anyone reading this I encourage you to reach out to the jail clergy. They have been the best provider of information to us, and also a comfort to us in our journey to heal.


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