The following is a message from filmmakers at Passion River, who have recently released the film ‘Lost and Found’.
Prison arts programs have, since their inception, been used to provide
inmates with a more constructive use for their time. Analyses of the
benefits of prison arts programs tend to focus, understandably so, on how
the lives of the inmates are improved: we always hear that inmates with
art as an expressive outlet are able develop valuable skills, and have
generally higher self-esteem. Rarely, however, do we examine the potential
communal importance of prison artists, save for the possible long-term
benefits for the prisoners when they are released and reintegrated into
society. What this fails to take into account is that prison artists can
make a positive impact on the outside world – and many already have.
The inmates at Oregon’s Snake River Correctional Institute provide a great
example of what these programs can accomplish. Since the institute started
promoting the arts, the prisoners have become not only artists, but
philanthropists as well. The arts program at Snake River has become quite
the moneymaking enterprise, and all of the funds generated go directly to
Ugandan orphans, thousands of miles from the prisoners’ cells.
This inspirational story is the basis of our documentary film entitled
“Lost and Found.” The film uses the actions of the Snake River inmates to
challenge our expectations of what is possible for prison artists, even
when they’re still behind bars.
The art of the Snake River Correctional Institute inmates is available for
purchase here. All proceeds from the sale of this art will go to the Otino Waa orphanage in Uganda.
To find out about hosting a screening or purchasing the film, visit our