Brush With the Law‘s inclusive community uses art as a tool for social change and brings awareness to the critical social issues affecting our world today. Professional artists, students, advocates, and members of the behavioral health community work together to create meaningful changes in the lives of participants and the communities where they live.
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Maria Maneos founded Brush With the Law in 2013 when she first became acquainted with the harsh realities of incarceration and mental health treatment in the U.S. Her son’s co-occurring disorder of BiPolar Type 1 along with addiction to heroin/fentanyl inevitably led to his arrest, conviction and sentencing to prison for a non-violent offense.
Visiting him in jail brought to light the lack of—and for the most part nonexistent—rehabilitative programming. These programs are absent within most of our country’s overcrowded and overburdened prison system. Her son’s experiences shattered Maria’s illusions concerning the rehabilitative goals enshrined in the charter of correctional institutions. She soon learned that the inmates for the majority of the day have few emotional, educational, or social outlets. These are needed to help alleviate, and lessen feelings of self-defeat, depression, and cynicism. All of which ultimately further entraps people in a cycle of crime and drug addiction.