By Delinia Lewis, CRM
California Institution for Men
On Jan. 16, Warden Dean Borders hosted legendary Guitarist Wayne Kramer, Jason Heath and other celebrity musical artists for the Jail Guitar Doors Program Kick-Off Concert series at the California Institution for Men (CIM).
Kramer is an American guitarist, singer, songwriter, producer and film and television composer. Kramer came to prominence as a teenager in 1967 as a co-founder of the Detroit rock group MC5 (Motor City 5), a group known for their powerful live performances and radical left-wing political stance. MC5 broke up amid personality conflicts, drug abuse, and personal problems, which, for Kramer, led to several fallow years, as he battled drug addiction before returning to an active recording and performing schedule in the 1990s.
Rolling Stone named him on their list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of all Time”.
In 1978, The Clash released the song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” The song tells the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician Kramer.
In 2007, to honor the life of Clash founder, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launched an initiative in England to provide musical equipment used to rehabilitate inmates serving time in Her Majesty’s Prisons in the United Kingdom. His initiative is named for that same song, “Jail Guitar Doors.”
In 2009, Wayne Kramer partners with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors USA. Together, their combined effort continues the mission for prisoners in America. The circle is unbroken.
Jail Guitar Doors will now share the message of rehabilitation and redemption with CIM through Music Classes. Inmates will learn to play instruments, sing, rap and write songs; all while earning rehabilitative achievement credits. Jail Guitar Doors currently volunteer their services on Wednesdays and Thursdays on multiple yards, which will positively affect over 100 programmers weekly.
“I truly appreciate the hard work and effort Jail Guitar Doors is putting into the rehabilitation of inmates at CIM,” said Warden Borders.