The Singer Inside
The Miracles prison project, The Singer Inside, was devised and launched by James Burton, Miracles Project Director, to provide support to vulnerable prisoners who are trying to live life drug free and experiencing difficulties adjusting to prison life.
The project takes place in drug rehabilitation wings and on wellbeing units - the aim is to contribute to the long term rehabilitation of prisoners – helping them return to and to take a positive role in their respective communities – inside and out.
Writing, playing and performing music in prison can provide a positive learning experience for prisoners. It can act as a catalyst in the process of rehabilitation, help to unravel complex and sometimes frightening emotions and express those feelings in a non-confrontational way.
The original pilot project ran for 5 months in Brixton prison drug wing and then, with a grant from the Big Lottery, ran for four months in Downview women's prison. We have since ran two more projects in Brixton and, with a grant from the Big Lottery, we have just completed 3 months in Send women’s prison.
It total 90 prisoners have so far successfully participated in the Singer Inside initiative greatly improving their chances of rehabilitation back into society.
For an overview of the work please see our blogs.
If you would like donate to the Singer Inside and make a lasting change in prisoners’ lives – donate here.
To find out more about Miracles prison work or to donate guitars to the project contact firstname.lastname@example.org
James and Andrew Harwood (a facilitator on the Brixton prison projects), pictured outside Brixton Prison with six guitars donated by Billy Bragg – about to start one of the sessions.
The work can best be summed up by feedback from one of the prisoners:
‘I came into prison with a serious heroin addiction which I had had for over 30 years. Being on the rehab wing was the first real opportunity I had for staying clean. The Music project helped me focus on something new and positive – helped me express thoughts and feelings I had never been able to voice before. I learnt how to play the guitar despite acute oedema in my fingers from my drug use and I even wrote some songs. Performing in the concert and hearing myself on the prison radio is something I will never forget. Thank you – thank you - the project helped me through some very dark and lonely days'.