"Music acts like a magic key, to which the most tightly closed heart opens." - Maria von Trapp
Individuals in correctional facilities face unique challenges. Many of them already use music as an escape from the daily grind of incarceration. Music is a healthy alternative to drugs, alcohol, and violence; it can also be used as a reward for good behavior. Prison life breeds a culture of emotional stagnation in order to appear "tough," but there are deeply buried emotions which, when worked through, provide a sense of relief and prevents more intense emotional outbursts. Much of their individuality is taken away and often times they lose "their voice." Music is a way to find their voice again. It is a healthier means of expression, and it gives a sense of purpose, and accomplishment. When prisoners are focused on perfecting their lyrics, they are less likely to get into trouble - the same way that extracurricular activities can keep kids off of the streets. Learning appropriate ways to express complex emotions, learning how to work with their peers to create a final product that works for the whole group, and learning a positive coping technique are lessons that easily transfer to life on the outside and will create more capable, and more successful members of our society. After all, incarceration is supposed to be about rehabilitation.