Jail Guitar Doors is an organization designed to provide musical instruments to prisons for use in rehabilitation. It's run by Billy Bragg and Wayne Kramer (MC5) as a force against the dehumanizing effects of incarceration. From their website:
"Jail Guitar Doors USA believes our country’s human and financial resources should be dedicated to education and ending poverty, the primary source of crime. We support public safety. We believe in accountability in a civilized society. We believe the punishment should fit the crime and that one is sentenced to prison as punishment, not for punishment. We believe in reform and that if we expect more of offenders and empower them with the necessary tools and resources they need to change, most will choose to change and not repeat offend. We work for better implementation of best practices in ways to treat non-violent offenders and minimize prison violence. We believe prisoners provided with the musical tools to create songs of their own can achieve a positive change of attitude that can initiate the work necessary to successfully return to life outside prison walls. Creating music, along with other educational and vocational programs, can be 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 ones future as a positive, contributing member of society."
They work with these prisons to set up musical education programs and performances for inmates. The positive effect on the quality of life for these inmates is inspiring. Some to the testimonials are extremely touching. (http://jailguitardoors.org/about.html)
The overwhelming scope and never-ending growth of the prison industrial complex in this country is terrifying and debilitating. More non-violent criminals are locked up than ever before, and it's incredibly important to keep in mind that these are ordinary people, not cattle, not slaves, not pariahs. Many of us have grown up with the impression that the bad seeds are behind bars because they deserve to be, and that the rest of us are safer for it. Those involved with Jail Guitar Doors know better and they're doing what they can to help. Any of you have some gear you might wanna donate?