Tim Robbins Back In Prison But Not Doing Time

Tim Robbins, the well know star of the epic prison based movie The Shawshank Redemption, is back inside. Only this time as a teacher and not as a prisoner.

CBS News reports that Serena Altschul caught up with Robbins for a brief interview about his work in prison. Norca, California is where a medium security prison houses criminals convicted of crimes ranging from drug possession to murder:

“What we’re asking them to do they haven’t been asked to do before. It takes a lot of courage. They’re actually putting on makeup and putting on costumes.

It creates this place, particularly important in prison, where people can step outside of what’s expected of them and try to explore new emotions, create new realities, create new truths for themselves,” Robbins said about the prison.

The Actor’s Gang is funded by Tim Robbins, who also founded the group back in 1981. The group aims to teach acting to prison inmates, as a way of rehabilitating them.

Altschul asked Robbins about his work: “What do you say to people who say, ‘Prison isn’t supposed to be about having a good time’?”

He responded: “It’s not a good time. It’s tough work they’re doing. It’s physically demanding, it requires discipline. We want full commitment from them.”

Altschul spoke to one of the prisoners, Yousef, who said: “I never thought I’d be happy to tell another man I put makeup on!” speaking about preparing for a performance.

Yousef continued: “You can always say ‘ We’re acting, that’s not really me.’ But the truth is, this is us. We’re not all bad people.”

The reporter asked Robbins about the Shawshank connection: “Everyone who comes up to you on the street must want to talk about ‘Shawshank,'” Robbins simply replied “Yeah, it’s up there.”

What is clear is that the work carried out by Tim Robbins, on behalf of The Actor’s Gang is valuable work and is a meaningful way to help prisoners rehabilitate while in jail.