Members of Radiohead and Others Petition to Keep Guitars in Prisons
There's a law in the U.K. that went into effect last fall that strips prisoners of their right to bear guitars. In response, a group of musicians has banded together to post an open-letter petition against the ban in the Guardian.
Bragg, along with longtime prison-reform advocate and guitar legend Wayne Kramer, have been working tirelessly on the subject of music in prisons since 2007, when they founded Jail Guitar Doors, a charity dedicated to providing instruments to inmates. They claim that music is beneficial to the rehabilitation of many prisoners.
The recently published letter directly targets U.K.'s Minister of Justice Chris Gayling, who was responsible for imposing the ban. He said that there was a spike in prison suicides since the program was introduced; the artists claim that is not the case and are demanding a reassessment of those suicides.
"We believe music has an important role to play in engaging prisoners in the process of rehabilitation," the letter reads. "However, this ability will be seriously undermined if inmates are unable to practice between group sessions."
Other U.K. rockers -- like Elbow's Guy Garvey, Speech Debelle, Richard Hawley, Scroobius Pip, Seasick Steve, the Farm and Sam Duckworth -- also signed the petition.