Utah prison uses rock & roll to rehabilitate

KANAB, Utah – Music has the power to change our moods and so much more. Now some local inmates are learning that he has the power to change lives.

These men take a page from Johnny Cash’s book and fill the halls of their prison with music.

“I know I have a lot of positive influence on the guys here, and I love that. It’s pretty rewarding for me,” said Aaron Richmond, who teaches the music program.

It’s part of a program at Kane County Jail to help inmates find ways to express themselves.

“You can see a guy come in and sometimes he’ll be in a bad mood,” Richmond said. “And a little later they’ll light up and they’ll feel it and they’ll be positive when they leave.”

They receive 22 hours a week of what the prison calls “productive time credit” for taking this course.

“There are inmates in the back who are incredibly talented,” MP Colton Cram said.

The sheriff recently launched the program and put deputies in charge. They oversee the curriculum, and volunteer inmates run the classes – teaching everything from music history to music theory, and instrument lessons for beginners to experts.

“I’m very rewarded just thinking that a lot of these guys can go home and play music for their family and friends, and maybe teach their neighbors or their kids how to play music, and something. that they didn’t know before they arrived,” Richmond said.

The students practice together for months at a time before going on stage for their fellow inmates.

“We get to play these gigs every few months. We’ll be doing Christmas concerts, Halloween concerts, summer and spring concerts,” Richmond said.

This program not only helps inmates learn music, but MPs say it helps everyone get along better.

“If you go back there and start talking to him with art, like music, talent, all kinds of things, it helps develop relationships with the inmates,” Cram said. “It kind of helps them realize cops are human too, like we realize they’re human too. We don’t need to have this wall between us all the time.”

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