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Work in Prisons
We believe music can play a key role in the rehabilitation process. The projects build inmates' confidence and develops their skills in problem solving, communication and team building, skills which are important in every aspect of life and can prove to be the catalyst which starts them thinking about their lives post-prison. As an inmate said, "If one person does something different from this it's all worth it." If one man goes "straight" as a result of attending a prison project and using the follow up support of the prison service, that is a saving to the tax paying community on average of £41,000 per inmate per year. In addition, there is a positive impact in social terms on him, his family and children and his local community.
You can read more about these projects in the March 2013 copy of the Prison Service Journal.
... with such long periods of time to endure so many people in prison have to struggle with their awareness of not only how much suffering they caused their victims and themselves, but how useful they possibly could have been in society had they thought out what it was they were planning to do ... many of these individuals have a terribly deep rooted sadness, a sadness that when awakened in a creative way gives them a hope that maybe one day they will be recognised as being worthy of all of their family and friends wanting to see them again and wish them the time of day and really mean it ... self esteem can be talked about and reasoned, but it is only when you truly feel it deep inside yourself that you experience what it means for another person to think you are important enough to want to spend some time in your company ...
This is what the Oxford Concert Party did for me and I will be eternally in your debt.
Ex-offender“The project united people from different cultures and countries with creativity.”
“The ability to see beyond the sound of the music and in to the heart – so therapeutic for me.”
Inmates, HMP The Verne“I came to this because of my son, to see if music makes me calmer like it does to my son. He has behavioural autism. It did make me feel calmer. The other bloke in my cell listens to it to stop him self harming.”
“I felt I was taken from here (prison) – it puts you in another zone. We recognise others’ talents that we didn’t know they had. It was everything for everyone.”
“We were all together under one music. It opened my eyes, you weren’t stiff, white people. Well done white people!”
Inmates HMP Wayland
People on the outside would see us in a different light – putting on an amazing show.
Good to express creativity rather than conforming to prison rules all the time.
Should happen in all prisons – how about building music academies in prisons?
Inmates HMP Blundeston
“I attended the performance at the end of the week, which was very impressive. You had clearly drawn out the creativity and talents of those who took part. I also appreciated the multi-cultural dimension of the music.
“It has been a real pleasure to see your work after hearing about it so many years ago. I hope you continue to inspire people in prison for many years to come.”
Jamie Bennett, Governor, HMP Springhill
" * * * * ing great!"
Inmates, Whitemoor Prison (Cambridgeshire)“Chaplains of a Christian tradition should be used to miracles in three days, but OCP were extraordinary. Out of your patience and commitment came the most remarkable music. Several of those who took part had never had the opportunity nor the courage to perform before. Rejecting no-one and encouraging everyone; from somewhere emerged sweet music!
You will have made a permanent difference to the lives of those who were there.”
Bill Cave, Chaplain, HMP The Verne"I think the impromptu concert on the exercise yard at lunch-time was sublime. I know that the final concert was a triumph and that all who attended the workshops throughout the week have been elevated in mood and motivation."
HMP Shepton Mallet"I was volunteering at HMP Grendon when you did workshop there many years ago and am now delighted to hear you've been enthralling a group at HMP The Verne this week. A guy I'm in touch with rang me just now full of enthusiasm for the days he spent with you there. You're saints, all of you!"
Prison Volunteer"In jail, you feel defeated and beaten down. After a time you lack confidence in everything you do, think or say. You need someone to believe in you. You have drawn good things out of us –you have brought out the best in us. You have given us our dignity and humanity back."
Inmate, HMP Buckley Hall"This has been the most wonderful achievement. I have never had the chance to make music together before, I can't believe it. I feel so lucky. It's like passing my driving test!”
Inmate, HMP Wayland