In 1978 The Clash released the song, "Jail Guitar Doors", a song tht tells the story of the imprisonment of MC5 guitarist Wayne Kramer for cocaine sales. Almost 30 years later, Kramer partnered with Clash founder Joe Strummer and singer/songwriter activist Billy Bragg to launch a project in the UK named Jail Guitar Doors to provide musical equipment to inmates serving time in prison. Two years later Kramer and Bragg started Jail Guitar Doors USA, which worked with prison officials to produce outreach events and programs that bring musical instruments and education to prisoners.
Why music? Because years of evidence shows that music can give voice to deep complex feelings in a non-confrontational way while it enables people to look inside themselves with honesty and eventually, pride..
Jail Guitar Doors literally goes into prisons to distribute instruments, teach music and work with non-violent offenders and minimize prison violence and decrease recidivism. Prisoners provided with the musical tools to create songs of their own can achieve a positive change of attitude that can help them return successfully to life outside prison walls. Creating music, along with JGD’s other educational and vocational programs is a profound force for positive change in a prisoner’s life. Our goal is to aid the ‘correctional’ aspect of corrections that can only come from a regenerated belief in one's future as a positive, contributing member of society
I love the way JGD operates, with annual benefit concerts, events in jails and prisons, programs for both men and women and artists in residence who work with specific correctional facilities. Elton John once said that “Music has healing power. It has the ability to take people out of themselves for a few hours.” Jail Guitar Doors does that every day, healing lives.
I urge Music FridayLive! Listeners to check them out at http://jailguitardoors.org/