CREST HILL, IL (WSIL) – The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) celebrates the launch of a music production program at the Stateville Correctional Center.
A special ceremony took place on Tuesday at the premises where Academy Award, Emmy Award and Grammy Award-winning artist Common unveiled a new state-of-the-art music studio.
“Coming home to be a part of this opportunity for the people of Stateville is my honor,” said common. “I personally know how music can heal and allow the human spirit to be free regardless of your surroundings. I wanted to provide a world class studio experience to support these residents as they commit to changing their lives. And that’s just the beginning.”
All components of the studio, including computer hardware, mixer and instruments, were funded by generous donors and Imagine Justice, a nonprofit organization founded by Common. The organization also provides funds for a professional musician to teach the class. This program is the first of its kind at IDOC.
Donors of studio equipment include Meyer Sound, Shure, Fender, Universal Audio, and Native Instruments.
The class is taught by musician and songwriter Antony Ablan who founded a similar program at the Cook County Jail. There are nine students in the first cohort of the program. During the 12-week course, students will learn songwriting, audio engineering, music production and more.
“A truly just justice system protects us all, and thanks to the generosity of Common and Imagine Justice, we are taking another step forward to provide more opportunities for education and expression in Stateville.” Governor JB Pritzker said. “With this first cohort – and more to come – the Illinois Department of Corrections is honoring what it means to treat people as more than their sentence.”
To be considered for the music program, people applied and participated in an interview. Each participant who completes the course will save time on their sentence.