Hall at the Univeristy of Denver

University Hall at the University of Denver in Denver.

The University of Denver has brought theater to an unlikely place: prison.

Male inmates from Sterling Correctional Facility will travel to Denver on Tuesday to perform "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" for female inmates at the Denver Women's Correctional Facility.

The production is part of a program called the DU Prison Arts Initiative. The university partnered with the Colorado Department of Corrections to fund three years of arts programming for Colorado inmates.

The program "strives to normalize the prison environment, empower inmates to improve their quality of life, and prepare them to make positive changes in their community upon release," according to a release from DU.

"This program is the first of its kind in the state, and puts Colorado on the map as a national leader in funding prison arts initiatives," the release states.

Research has shown that prison arts programs positively affect inmates' attitudes and motivation, which can improve their outcomes post-release. A Justice Policy Journal study in 2014 found that inmate-artists were significantly more likely to pursue other educational and vocational programs than other inmates.

DU plans to bring the arts to every prison in Colorado.

"This is one of the DU Prison Arts Initiative’s most ambitious projects to date, but this is just the beginning," the release states.

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