Mission & Vision

Mission Statement

Shakespeare Behind Bars offers theatrical encounters with personal and social issues to incarcerated, post-incarcerated, and at-risk communities, allowing them to develop life skills that will ensure their successful integration into society.

Vision Statement

Shakespeare Behind Bars was founded on the belief that all human beings are born inherently good. Although some convicted criminals have committed heinous crimes against other human beings, the inherent goodness still lives deep within them and can be called forth by immersing participants in the safety of a circle-of-trust and the creative process.

Within the circle-of-trust, Shakespeare Behind Bars seeks to transform inmate offenders from who they were when they committed their crimes, to who they are in the present moment, to who they wish to become.

Shakespeare Behind Bars offers participants the ability to hope and the courage to act despite their fear and the odds against them.

Participation in the Shakespeare Behind Bars program can effectively change our world for the better by influencing one person at a time, awakening him or her to the power and the passion of the goodness that lives within all of us.

Core Values/Creed Statement

The Shakespeare Behind Bars program allows each participant the opportunity to:

  1. Develop a lifelong passion for learning, especially those participants who are at high risk of not completing or continuing their education;
  2. Develop literacy skills (reading, writing, and oral communication), including those participants who are classified as learning disabled and/or developmentally challenged;
  3. Develop decision making, problem solving, and creative thinking skills;
  4. Develop empathy, compassion, and trust;
  5. Nurture a desire to help others;
  6. Increase self esteem and develop a positive self image;
  7. Take responsibility for the crime/s committed;
  8. Become a responsible member of a group, community, and family;
  9. Learn tolerance and peaceful resolution of conflict;
  10. Relate the universal human themes contained in Shakespeare’s works to themselves including their past experiences and choices, their present situation, and their future possibility;
  11. Relate the universal themes of Shakespeare to the lives of other human beings and to society at-large;
  12. Return to society as a contributing member.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Statement

Shakespeare Behind Bars is an inclusive organization that proactively enlists intentional strategies to remove barriers to access, participation, and the success of those who were historically or are currently systematically excluded or marginalized.

Shakespeare Behind Bars values diversity and practices inclusion within its staff organization,  program facilitators, teaching artists, program participants, and associates.  For the continued advancement of the work of Shakespeare Behind Bars, we champion equal access and equity of opportunity through the intentional inclusion of all.

Shakespeare Behind Bars values diversity and inclusion across identity groups and professional levels. Identity groups include and are not limited to age, appearance, disability, ethnicity, gender (identity or expression), geographic location, nationality, professional level, race, religion, and sexual orientation.

Recidivism Rates

National average = 60%*
Kentucky = 40%**
Shakespeare Behind Bars = 6%

*National Institute of Justice.
**Kentucky Department of Corrections