The Illinois Department of Corrections announced the launch of a music production program for those incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center in Crest Hill.
Imagine Justice, a nonprofit founded by artist Common, and other donors funded the components of the production studio, including computer equipment, a mixing board and instruments, according to a news release. The organization is also providing funds for a professional musician to teach the class.
“Coming back home to be a part of this opportunity for the people of Stateville is my honor,” Common said in a statement. “I know personally how music can heal and allow the human spirit to be free regardless of your environment. I wanted to offer a world class studio experience to support these residents as they are committed to changing their lives.”
This program is the first of its kind at IDOC.
There are nine students in the program’s first cohort. Students will learn song writing, audio engineering, music production and more in the course.
“A truly just justice system keeps us all safer, and thanks to the generosity of Common and Imagine Justice, we’re taking another step to provide more opportunities for education and expression at Stateville,” said Gov. JB Pritzker in a statement. “With this first cohort – and more to come – the Illinois Department of Corrections is honoring what it means to treat people as more than their sentence.”
Musician and songwriter Antony Ablan will teach a class at Stateville. He taught a similar class at the Cook County Jail.
“Our mission is to create a world-class studio and music program to facilitate creation, collaboration, and learning,” Ablan said in a statement. “We have no doubt there are many voices at Stateville that should be heard. So, we’re going to make the space. Music helps us all feel better and be better.”
To be considered for the program, individuals applied and took part in an interview. Each participant who completes the course will earn time off their sentence.