Perfectly Named

So, for the second time on this trip, we found ourselves shopping at a prison “gift shop”. The first, in Maine focused mostly on woodworking. This location however, known as the “Florence Prison Outlet” seemed particularly well-named.

The Florence Arizona outlet offered fewer boring, functional items like cutting boards, and more one-of-a-kind paintings, sculptures and origami creations. Of course, prisons across the country are always experimenting with new ways of encouraging rehabilitation, and art therapy has gained a great deal of respect in corrections in recent decades.

Art therapy in particular, offers a creative, and often emotional, outlet for prisoners that has shown a measurable effect on rehabilitation efforts. So, in a sense, this place is a true prison outlet.

While the shop is run by the Department of Corrections, no money has ever been placed into the program by the state, it is completely self-sufficient. Most importantly, 75 cents of each dollar is deposited in an account for the artist. This money hopefully will help them in reestablishing their lives when they are released.