Date of Award

Spring April 2017

Access Restriction

Research Projects

Degree Name

Master of Arts


Marital and Family Therapy

School or College

College of Communication and Fine Arts

First Advisor

Einat Metzl


This study discusses the intergenerational impact of mass incarceration on families. The general literature repeatedly described the negative effects of mass incarceration among children who have an incarcerated parent by pointing to the difficulty of educational attainment, social exclusion, stigma, substance abuse, and the exacerbation of mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, and antisocial behavior (Kjellstrand & Eddy, 2011; Miller & Barnes, 2015; Turney, 2014). Unfortunately, most incarcerated individuals are parents and most incarcerated women are mothers (Scudder, A., et al., 2014, and Miller, et al., 2014). Through the use of art, service providers (artists, clinicians, etc.) that facilitate parent based programs in correctional facilities or re-entry programs can alleviate the trauma caused by incarceration that affect the emotional and mental well-being of families. Two organizations that provide art programs to incarcerated parents participated in a qualitative study about the effective use of art in their programs. Themes from the interviews discussed the value of cultural humility, as well as the role of social justice and restorative justice frameworks when providing art-based programs for parents. The lack of trust, compassion, and empathy were barriers in the process of delivering services to families. Since the creative process is inherently inclusive and actively engages its participants (e.g., therapists, patients, observers), the results of this study point to art creation as a vehicle that promotes trusts and supports family relationship restoration in order to intercept the cycles of intergenerational trauma.