The Prison Project
Songwriting can be a powerful first step in the healing transformation.
The Prison Project is a songwriting/performing workshop in which incarcerated women who have experienced trauma, addiction, violence, poverty, and mental health issues are given access to the arts and learn how to identify and end abuse and gain self-empowerment. The Prison Project is designed to provide an alternative to risky behaviors and give participants faith in their creative abilities, providing a voice to a silenced and invisible population.
Broken Wings was written by inmates at the Western Massachusetts Correctional and Alcohol Center (Howard Street) in Springfield MA. All of them were just sitting there waiting to see what I was going to do for them. They were hesitant, making comments such as “We’ve never written a song before” in grumpy tones. This song is the second one they came up with. It speaks to the possibility of transformation and that we hold the key to our own healing and the ability to change our lives. I really think you “get” this idea in the songwriting workshops. The powerful experience of songwriting, bonding with others who haven’t chosen wisely or realized their own worth and as a result have had similar experiences from addiction to mental health issues to extremely bad relationships that they can't seem to break free from, that have landed them in jail, gives the women joy and a hope for the future. I firmly believe singing your song, telling your story can set you free…at least get you on the way to freeing yourself from the past.
"I have been a witness to the cathartic experience that this group brings to the women. It is truly a miracle to hear broken spirits sing like angels." Coralee Chase, Counselor, Western Massachusetts Correctional Alcohol Center