Art and pop culture are being used by a Halifax group to fight and address the impacts of crime and violence.
In My Own Voice Arts Association has developed a program called, iNSpiRe: Rehearsing Reintegration, to help people who are or have been incarcerated take responsibility for their actions and reintegrate into the community.
With $1.1 million over three years, the association will help people through one-on-one counselling, creative expression, skill-building and transitional support. The project was one of 13 submissions considered under the Community Crime Intervention Initiative Fund.
“To grow strong and resilient communities, people need to be able to see a role for themselves and how they can contribute to society,” said Mark Furey, Attorney General and Minister of Justice. “iNSpiRe can help offenders chart a new path for their future and bring new and important skills back to their families and communities.”
iNSpiRe: Rehearsing Reintegration is a three-phase project that uses narrative therapy, which helps people to find their own voice and creative expression to help offenders integrate into supportive communities and rebuild a sense of self outside of the correctional system.
- Kintsugi Monologues – uses narrative theory and therapy during incarceration to show offenders their future can be different than their past
- Exit Strategy Program – one-to-one counselling to identify issues three months prior to release
- iNSpiRe in the Community – provides a transitional space for skill-development, mentorship, housing, employment and community support following their release. Nova Scotia has also extended the funding provided through the Nova Scotia Guns and Gang Violence Action Fund to the following crime prevention and intervention services and initiatives until March 31, 2023:
- Mi’kmaw Legal Support Network, bail verification and supervision program – $292,200
- Halifax Regional Municipality, community mobilization team, $225,500
- Mi’Kmaw Native Friendship Society, Seven Sparks, $225,000.
iNSpiRe: Rehearsing Reintegration guides individuals through a process of deep self-reflection and projection so they can understand how the elements of their lives fit together, helping them to excavate the impact of their past upon their present and freeing them to rewrite their future with recognition, purpose and in service to others. It begins with reframing the story of the person’s experiences using art and expression to create significance, mission and above all agency. We help the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated give voice to their future – making personal and social transformation a real possibility. Sobaz Benjamin, executive director, In My Own Voice Arts Association
Giving individuals an opportunity to move past gang and criminal violence and into a productive life filled with hope and purpose is key to reducing violence. Through our Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence, the Government of Canada supports provinces, territories and communities as they develop and deliver programs that help improve the lives of their citizens and contribute to safer communities. Bill Blair, federal Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
- the Community Crime Intervention Initiative Fund helps communities, non-profit organizations, municipalities, academic institutions and law enforcement agencies identify and fund priority crime prevention, intervention and law enforcement initiative to combat gun and gang violence and other related issues
- funding for the project is part of $4.7 million the province is receiving over five years from the Government of Canada’s Initiative to Take Action Against Gun and Gang Violence
- as part of the agreement, the iNSpiRe project is required to develop a self-sufficient funding model by March 31, 2023