Why Coloring Therapy in Prisons


Why Teach Prisoners Coloring?

Coloring Therapy for the Soul for Prisoners

I only became open to the idea of becoming elementary school teacher so I could make colorful bulletin boards. I no longer teach in an elementary school classroom. I teach convicted felons in a prison dormitory classroom. My class is called Coloring Therapy for the Soul because inmates are learning how to use coloring as a form of stress relief therapy.


Very Popular

in prison for many reasons.

I've been told an inmate has to sign up right away, get up early, even, to get one of the 15 spots in my class. I think I know way. One of the greatest things about coloring is that it is highly successful for everyone—even if you lack artistic instruction or experience. Inmates long for validation and a way to retain their individuality. They don’t have many opportunities to feel a sense of personal accomplishment. It's empowering to create a body of artwork, and finishing a coloring page is a noteworthy achievement.

You might be thinking, isn’t trying to stay in the lines stressful? And that can’t be good for inmates, right? Wrong. Coloring isn’t about production and perfection. It’s about the enjoying process and the health-giving benefits it offers. I believe having guidelines, verses a blank page, eases any chances for performance anxiety. 

For a long time, I’ve felt I didn’t have anything left to offer, but I have found hidden talents that were dormant for some time. My sense of worth has been rekindled. Coloring has brought back the peace I experienced as a child.
— Inmate, Ridgeland Correctional Institute

Coloring is ideal therapy for a soul that is troubled, stressed, or in need of some down time. For some suffering with chronic pain, the simple act of choosing colors and filling in spaces can actually alleviate a body's aches and pains. Because coloring frees our active minds from the unhealthy effects of stress, it is especially appropriate for educational settings for veterans, prisoners, seniors, and after school programs.

Let me know if I can be a valuable resource to you, or a population or community you are involved with. Thanks!