This Program Is Helping Inmates Find Their Voice Through Songwriting

"In music, there's freedom," one participant said.

Beyond the barbed wire and chain-link fences surrounding Lee Correctional Facility, inmates at South Carolina's largest maximum-security prison are finding self-expression through music. The Decoda Ensemble's criminal justice initiative works with select inmates to write songs, create music collaborations and provide a creative outlet. Claire Bryant, the director of the program, said it encourages inmates not just to think about an issue, but to create a response to it.

After workshopping the songs and rehearsing, inmates in the program even perform for their peers, prison staff and a few civilians. The Decoda Ensemble hopes the opportunity for creative expression will not just help foster citizenship within the facility, but also help the inmates build skills for life outside the prison's walls.

Watch the clip above to learn more about the transformative program.



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