Northeast Ohio Offender Art Project March 2014

This is the initial video produced as a call for entries from 14 northern ODRC prisons, DYS, and supervision. Theme is “Positive Messages for the Youth from inside the Walls.” All submissions will be printed in Prison Coffee Table Book Project Vol. 3, November 2014. Partial funding by Plymouth Church of Shaker Heights. Collaboration of RBN, ODRC, ODYS, Federal Public Defender. Art will hang in Federal Public Defenders offices across Ohio. Phase 1 of the collection has hung there for 3 years. This collection is estimated to ultimately total 1200 pieces of original prisoner art after the southern region is invited to submit in November, and the following statewide call for miniature art. There will be multiple informational video updates made to play on the ODRC television channels over the next year.


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Prison is the cost for not building assets in children.

My Journey with Prisoners: Perceptions, Observations, and Opinions – Journey is Carol E. Briney’s Master of Liberal Studies capstone essay, 2013. The following review is by Dr. Richard Berrong, the director of Liberal Studies Programs at Kent State University:

Carol Briney’s explanation of the techniques she has developed over the years to deal with the problems experienced by the male prison population and their transition back into the outside world is both fascinating and important. Rather than setting off with the latest sociological or psychological theories and
developing treatments in a void, she has derived all her methods “the old-fashioned way,” speaking with the prisoners themselves constantly to see what works and what does not work, what explains their behavior and what does not. The result, written in a direct, sometimes amusing, but always jargon-free style, is
sure to intrigue and astound. It is sure to convince you that she has, indeed, discovered things that everyone involved with male prisoners needs to know.

Prison Coffee Table Book Project – An unprecedented national arts collaboration with the prisoners and the authors, this project provides the reader with glimpses into the intellect, creative mind, and world of individuals incarcerated in America’s prisons. Each contribution has its own voice, its own story, and the need to be told and shared.

The Project strives to provide a reflection of the individual lives behind prison walls to the degree that the societies outside the walls can make more conscious humanitarian decisions regarding punishment, living conditions, education, rehabilitation and treatment of those individuals, resulting ultimately in reduced recidivism and a healthier national environment.

Trauma causes grief-impairment.

The Project focuses on the publication of art and creative writings of prisoners. The uncensored works appeal to multi-discipline studies. The purpose of the Project series is to provide venues for prisoners to have an expressive voice in societies outside their walls.

Prison Coffee Table Book Project Volume 1, second edition

  • Volume 1 and 2 are designed as a set: Vol.1 contains full-color art and text.
  • Vol. 2 contains black and white art, poetry, writings and biographies of the inmate contributors in both volumes.

Prison Coffee Table Book Project Vol 2

A compliment to Volume 1, this book is 494 pages of black and white poetry, art and writings from 125 prisoners from across America. The work is published as it was presented, in an effort to preserve the persona of the authors and artists for the readers’ enjoyment.

Prison Coffee Table Book Project Vol 3

The 2014 North Ohio Prisoner Art Project, themed Positive Messages to the Youth from Inside the Walls, will produce 300 pieces of art from north Ohio prisons.Volume 3 will contain images of that entire show and will be available for purchase by November 15, 2014.

The Retablo Affect, second edition

Briney combines metaphysics and traditional Catholicism to examine the divine attributes of humanness and then teaches the ancient, primitive New Mexican Retablo art form as a means of getting through the “garbage” and painting the symbols of the God within self and others. Briney uses these healing workshops with her Exploring Life & Spirituality workshops inside American prisons.

It takes community to reduce recidivism. – Carol E Briney


Walls to Windows Project – a community beautification collaboration
The Walls to Windows Project book can be purchased at effective October 1, 2015

Artists who reside inside Richland Correctional Institution created over 100 paintings that are installed over boarded-up windows and doors of 13 blighted, abandoned houses in the northwest Ward One of Canton, Ohio. This project is a gift from the prisoners to the children of the neighborhoods in hopes that the paintings will give them joy and brighten up their living space.

The list of houses is below:

  1. 315 Belden Ave NE – African Kings/Queens
  2. 319 Belden Ave NE – African Kings/Queens
  3. 1943 3rd St NE – Super Hero/Star Wars
  4. 1705 3rd St NE – Aquarium/Fish
  5. 1421 Tuscarawas St E – Children
  6. 633 Young NE – Dora the Explorer
  7. 819 Young NE – Celebrities
  8. 615 15th St NE – Turtles
  9. 703 10th NW – Princesses
  10. 913 10th St NW – Reflections
  11. 825 8th St NW – Disney

We would like to thank our community partners for such a successful collaboration:

  • Reentry Bridge Network, Inc. – Carol E. Briney, Exec. Dir. & Project Producer
  • Richland Correctional Institution – Margaret Bradshaw, Warden; Thomas Hutchens, site supervisor
  • LAM Photography & Design – Lisa A. Miraschocchi, owner
  • Dan Szwedko Graphics * Canton City * Arts in Stark * Project Rebuild * Hope Depot
  • Classy Little Fashions Foundation * Signarama of Canton

Authentic teachers & mentors strive to be clear, calm, consistent, honest, genuine & respectful.

Prison Library Partnership – RBN has a perpetual collaboration with universities, groups, and individuals to fill the shelves of prison libraries with donated books that support secondary education, philosophy, theology, health, and recreational reading.

Carol’s vision that drives prison art projects is threefold and she believes that these means will work together to create a real bridge between prisoners and community, ultimately reducing crime and recidivism in America.

      • to promote & utilize the art muses for self-expression, healing & growth inside prisons,
      • to provide arts venues for Prisoners to have a voice outside the prison wall thru which they can feel validated as individuals, and
      • to impact the outside community with the awareness that America’s prison community is made up of incarcerated individuals, not of steel cell blocks – and most of those individuals will reenter the community.

In collaboration with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, Dennis Terez, the Ohio Federal Public Defender, and Reentry Bridge Network, on March 4, 2014, Carol E. Briney, exec. director of RBN, issued a call for entries to the north Ohio prisons, parole regions, and juvenile facilities exclusively to generate 300 additional pieces of original art. This collection will replace the art in the northern offices of the Ohio Federal Public Defender and the current collection will move to the southern offices: Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati. This project is called NEOOAP-North East Ohio Offender Art Project. The art submissions are to reflect the theme Positive Messages to the Youth from inside the Walls. The project has its hub at Grafton Correctional Institution with Eric Gardenhire as the staff coordinator, furthering community service, vocational mentoring and training.

It takes community to reduce recidivism. – Carol E Briney

Reentry Bridge Network donated framing equipment and supplies to Grafton Reintegration Camp (GRC) so the men at that location will be able to professionally mat and frame the submissions. The standardized frames will be built by offenders in the wood shop program.

The show will be curated by Carol E. Briney and a team of master artists who are residents at GRC or community volunteers. Two pieces of art will be chosen to use as the front and back cover of the Prison Coffee Table Book Project, Volume 3, which will contain images of the entire exhibit.

The Federal Public Defender, Dennis Terrez who has been a reentry partner with ODRC for many years will transport and hang the collections. Dennis will host an open house with broad media coverage at each of his six offices. Galleries and universities will be invited to participate in the project. A more visible public venue with a university or museum is being sought as a permanent home for the whole collection to ensure a large public audience to promote and further gain recognition of the talent, plight, and individuality of the people who live behind prison walls.

Mid October will be the unveiling and exhibit of the entire NEOOAP collection at Grafton Reintegration Camp prior to it being divided between three city locations. The Prison Coffee Table Book Project Vol. 3 will be available on by November 15, 2014. Dennis Terez will host open house events for the public and media at each of his six offices – Cleveland, Toledo, Akron, Columbus, Dayton, and Cincinnati – in the month of December 2014.

Punitive actions don’t heal the impairment and acting out of trauma. Coping skills and accountability and caring adults do – even for adults.

Analysis of the Evolution of Religion inside Male Prisons, as a Predictor of Recidivism Project – This discussion group was created to prove a graduate paper by the same name. Prisoners filled out a 28-page questionnaire. The discussions occurred over a four-month period, in four-hour weekly sessions. Though the sociology paper had received an A+, the 12 participating prisoners proceeded to dissect and disagree with most all of the social constructs and theories, and made good sense in their analogy. The beauty of bantering with male prisoners on this level is that they out of necessity tend to think on many more dimensions than we on the outside do. Their approach and perspective has been dramatically altered by the prison experience; that great value is found in their conclusions and questions. It was the final consensus of the group that the paper had no real value in its content, and the author, Carol E. Briney, concurred.

Juvenile Branch


Reentry Bridge Network, Inc. (RBN) is an Ohio-based 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity organization.

Founding Executive Director ~ Carol Briney, MLS, BAFA, AAFA, TS 

Behaviors are reactions to threats or perceived threats that an observer may not understand.

Carol E. Briney, a contemporary grounded theorist in the educational environment, believes that a systematic approach is required to reduce the likelihood of incarceration or recidivism.  For nearly a decade, she has written and facilitated holistic pro-social programs inside juvenile and adult prisons and in community forums.  Her programs focus on human value, trauma-informed care, grief-impairment, daily literacy, reentry and job readiness, the healing arts, and understanding poverty.  The foundation of Briney’s work is her strong belief — If we can’t help people to realize their own universal value – that they are a divine creation interwoven within the fabric, the whole of life – how can we expect them to see the value in their victims or their environment? This is gained through asset-building strength-based programs, not punitive action. In addition, unresolved trauma must be healed in order to move away from the acting out that often results in incarceration.

Briney earned her Master of Liberal Studies from Kent State University; her Bachelor of Arts Fine Arts and Psychology minor from the University of New Mexico; her Associate of Arts Fine Arts from Central New Mexico College; and her certification as a Trauma Specialist from the TLC Institute.  She is currently pursuing her Interdisciplinary Studies PhD based on her research  in the effects of trauma on violence, crime and prisoners.

Briney authored the following books:  Walls to Windows, 2015, My Journey with Prisoners: Perceptions, Observations & Opinions 2013; Prison Coffee Table Book Project, Volume 1 & 2, 2008, 2009; The Retablo Affect, 2009. Volume 3 of the Prison coffee Table Book Project will publish 2014. She is a member at large of the Ohio Ex-Offender Reentry Coalition and is on numerous advisory committees within her field. She is the director of the National Prisoner Arts Project, and the Northeast Ohio Offender Arts Project collaborations with the Federal Public Defenders Office and Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections. She also directs the Ohio Prison Library Project.

Unresolved trauma drives diminished self-worth, violence and crime.

Reshaping futures through strength-based programs

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