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Women's prison in Kitchener releases music album in a Canadian first

Photo credit: prosandconsprogram.com

Talk about dropping bars behind bars.

Inmates at the Grand Valley Institution for Women in Kitchener have released a 10-song music album, called “Undisclosed Location.”

It’s the first album written and recorded at a federal women’s prison in Canada and part of the Pros and Cons Program.

Founder of the program Hugh Christopher Brown tells 570 NEWS it all started by bringing music workshops into prisons, and it became popular in a men’s prison outside Kingston.

“That led to the first record, which is called “Postcards from the County,” he said of the album recorded in the Pittsburgh Institution’s prison chapel.

“(It) went around the world, and is released annonymously, both to protect the integrity of victims and also inmates themselves.”

It’s much the same for “Undisclosed Location,” is released for free — you can listen to the full album at ProsAndConsProgram.com —and is tied to charities and organizations to bring awareness to them.

“Women’s shelters, victim’s advocacy (groups), food banks,” he said, “It’s a method of the inmates using their time productively, to build relationships, to learn a skill…but then also to create a positive impact for the outside.”

The album was produced by musician John Copping.

“He did an incredible job,” Brown said, “He, himself, is an electronic music expert, and so to me, the pallet of this album is incredible because it’s like electronica, gospel, R&B and almost outsider art…as you can hear, the emotions are really present so it makes for an incredible listening experience.”

Brown says another aspect is that it helps inmates learn both interpersonal skills and a sense of self-worth.

He adds music also provides a platform where people can get real and honest with themselves.

“Most people inside are going to be released, and how do you want them socialized,” he said, “I’ll tell you when they cross that threshold of feeling and taking responsibility for themselves, I think they’re far less likely to do harm to themselves or others.”