Music for Transformation
A criminal justice initiative impacting the lives of the incarcerated
Director of Criminal Justice Initiative, Claire Bryant
Music for Transformation is a new criminal justice initiative, created by Decoda after successful projects at Sing Sing Correctional Facility and Lee Correctional Institution. This initiative will connect with other emerging trends in rehabilitation and anti-recidivism for adults, juvenile offenders, and at-risk youths in correctional programs around the nation.
Decoda’s work in corrections has been extensive and transformative. Over the past three years, Decoda has cultivated a model for long-term creative projects in two of our country’s largest maximum security prisons for male offenders: Sing Sing (Ossining, NY) and Lee Correctional Institution (Bishopville, SC). Decoda’s immersive musical collaborations have impacted inmates’ emotional well-being and improved their sense of self. Each institution has experienced a profound benefit beyond the individual; Decoda’s work has contributed to a transformative atmosphere of positive citizenship within the prison at large.
Decoda’s correctional residencies seek to
• provide each participant a means to express themselves creatively in a safe place
• foster good citizenship within the prison community
• use collaborative creative work in order to develop the social and analyticalskills necessary for successful living both inside and outside the facility
Decoda seeks to enable the broadest possible audiences to make deep and personal connections to art regardless of their previous experience, exposure, or expertise. Our community initiatives in schools, correctional institutions, healthcare facilities, and homeless shelters strive to empower the musical voice inherent in all people.
December 12th & 18th @ Sing Sing Correctional Facility; Ossining, NY
February 8 - 15, 2016 @ Lee Correctional Institution; Bishopville, SC
March - May 2016 @ Belmont Academy; Brooklyn, NY
About Music for Transformation
Projects involve week-long visits facilitated by four-eight Decoda musicians in collaboration with approximately 25-40 youth and/or inmates as selected participants for each visit. Creative songwriting workshops are based on themes (ex: ‘Transformation’, ‘Where I’m From’, ‘I Hope’, 'I Can') and run between three and four hours each day. The culmination of each workshop-week is a live concert for a larger group within the incarcerated community and invited civilians, as well as the production of a professional recording of the participants’ original songs.
Decoda uses a two-pronged evaluation method to measure successes and identify areas for improvement:
- Surveys for participants (both pre- and post-workshop), including number-based metrics and ‘free-write’ reflection to measure their satisfaction in each aspect of the residency
- Surveys for correctional officers, staff, and state representatives from the DOC, distributed before, directly after, and two months following each residency, to chart personal and behavioral development and the positive effects on the sense of community across the facility
At a time when both social and criminal justice is boiling over in the nation's consciousness, the musicians of Decoda excite at the possibility of this amazing exploration of the power of music to heal and rehabilitate.