From left are Community Resources Manager Vickie Grays, Tom Skelly, and Chief Deputy Warden (A) Michael Dimmitt with donated guitars

By Lt. Sarah Watson, AA/Public Information Officer
California Rehabilitation Center

A donation of new musical instruments will help Arts-in-Corrections rehabilitative efforts at California Rehabilitation Center.

In 1978, rock band The Clash released the song “Jail Guitar Doors.” The song told the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician, Wayne Kramer.

In 2007, in honor of The Clash founder Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launched the initiative Jail Guitar Doors to provide musical equipment to rehabilitate inmates serving time in prison in the United Kingdom. Two years later, Wayne Kramer partnered with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors (JGD) USA. Since then, JGD has donated guitars to over 65 prisons across America.

In December, JGD representative Tom Skelly delivered 20 brand new Fender acoustic guitars and two percussion instruments to the California Rehabilitation Center (CRC).  The instruments will be used by inmates participating in an Arts-in-Corrections songwriting class taught by Kramer and Jason Heath of the folk rock group Jason Heath and the Greedy Souls.

The men participating in the songwriting class at CRC must demonstrate good behavior and a willingness to work collaboratively and peacefully.  Through the transformative power of music, Kramer and Heath mentor the inmates to find their creative voices and to develop a means of non-confrontational, non-violent expression and self-esteem building.

Regarding the donation, Chief Deputy Warden (A) Michael Dimmitt said, “CRC is honored by this generous donation. These guitars will be used to enhance our commitment to providing positive programming at CRC.”

Warden Cynthia Y. Tampkins also expressed her appreciation to JGD for the donation and for providing the songwriting class to the men incarcerated at CRC.

“The songwriting class is one of the most popular programs among the inmates. These types of programs are essential to the successful rehabilitation of the men housed at CRC and I am extremely appreciative to Wayne Kramer and his staff at Jail Guitar Doors,” said Warden Tampkins.