I am all for prisons creating programs that help to reform the inmates. However, one prison in Ohio is going a bit too far.
The Trumbull Correctional Institution in Warren, Ohio has a Music with a Purpose Program for its inmates. It is a music program that helps to teach interested inmates music theory, music application, proper use of musical instruments and vocal classes. This would be all good in my book but the prison takes things a bit further. They allow the inmates, with good standing of course, to form bands with other inmates. Each of these gangs bands consists of 6 or 7 members and their genres vary from gospel to rock n roll and country. Doesn’t sound all that bad right? Well, it gets worse. The bands get to meet twice a week to practice for a monthly concert for family and friends. The attendees are even able to purchase t-shirts with the convicts band logo on them or even get a CD. There are about 14 bands at the facility now and the numbers are growing.
I would be all for this if the bands that were performing were convicts with crimes like robbery but some of these bands have murderers in them. The band featured on the front page of the Tribune Chronicle, and above, consists of three people in for aggravated robbery, two rapists and two people in for aggravated murder. Now, I don’t mean to judge, but should people convicted of rape and murder be allowed to join a band and rock out? Even if they are on good behavior they should still be rotting in a cell 23 hours a day. They even allow them to have their instruments in their cell with them so they can practice. This doesn’t seem like the “hard time” they recieved as a penalty for their actions. How would you feel if a loved one was murdered and you get the paper only to see the man responsible for the slaying jamming out on a guitar? The first comment on the story was from a mother of a victim.
I am sure there were plenty of other people like Kathy who had a hard time seeing the newspaper yesterday.
There is a bright spot to the Music with a Purpose Program. The money generated from t-shirt and CD sales goes to a local elementary school through the prisons Adopt-A-School program. Though this is a great gesture, I will not support this program until it gets people with violent crimes off the set list.
Source: Tribune Chronicle