Music on the Inside works with professional musicians to bring the transformative power of music education and mentorship to people who are incarcerated, facing the challenges of re-entry or impacted by incarceration.
Mass Incarceration in America
One in three adults in America holds a criminal record. In 2020, 2.3 million Americans live behind bars. In the past 40 years, America’s incarceration population has increased by 700 percent, yet the country’s criminal justice system is not serving human dignity well.
Pervasive discrimination prevents successful rehabilitation. One of the most pressing civil rights issues of our time is the disproportionate incarceration of people of color in the United States, particularly black men. Those with a history of arrest or conviction are hampered from accessing jobs, housing, and educational opportunities and these restrictions drive higher rates of recidivism.
Correlation between arts education and life effectiveness. Interdisciplinary studies show cognitive, social, and personal competencies are cultivated through arts instruction in prison. Music education gives focus and hope to those in prison and music mentorships in reentry give support and new influences to help those struggling with issues of self-worth find confidence and courage to meet their challenges.
To create an environment for participants to express themselves
To engender empathy, creativity, teamwork, and learning through music-making and listening
To increase focus through music
To introduce legendary musicians who overcame odds through music to incarcerated individuals
To create and record new music and songs by students
To inspire and support ongoing engagement with music upon release
We all benefit when these individuals have support for better choices
Our musically-engaged students in the prisons receive a guitar and ongoing lessons and life coaching during reentry as well. As written by one student: “Music on the Inside has given me sure proof that society has not counted us all out. On a personal note, I was very moved to be the presence of such great artists. They made me feel loved and powerful all at once.”