Video for CDCR staff (YouTube version posted below)
Video by Ike Dodson, PIO
Produced by Terri Hardy, PIO II
Office of Public and Employee Communications
Music plays an important rehabilitative role in many CDCR programs. At California Medical Facility (CMF), the Psychiatric Inpatient Program has trained music therapists overseeing the group. Music helps the healing process as they work with the patients to teach coping skills for suicidal thoughts, chronic depression, anger and anxiety.
Some of the patients do not have a music background and they learn to play instruments. As they progress and practice songs of their choice, patients also learn discipline and cooperation skills. In 2019, the program’s ensemble group formed the band A-3 Project. They performed at CMF’s Prison Palooza, an exuberant first-of-its kind music festival. Patients, music therapists and corrections staff jammed together. The group brought the audience to its feet, applauding and cheering. Tim McGinty, a music therapist, said the experience was not only great entertainment, but also provided his group with an important therapeutic achievement.
YouTube video (may not be accessible on a CDCR computer):
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(Harmonica music begins)
(Music picks up)
Down to the crossroads, fell down on my knees.
(Guitar music begins)
I had to pinch myself because it must be a dream. I swear that woman said, ‘Do you want some ice cream?’
Ice cream with you.
One more time Johnny come on.
I’ve seen patients, especially in my ensemble, that are chronically depressed ― guys that are just about…
Like this is the last resort. If they had the means, they would end it.
And I have seen them take the opportunity to play an instrument and learn and apply it and fill that vacancy in their life.
Music transcends. Music is soundtracks of people’s lives.
It’s like a painting, different brushes, different colors, and once that painting is done and on the canvas it’s something beautiful.
And that’s how I see music ― something beautiful.
It’s great because being in prison for so long…
I mean there is a boundary between, you know, staff and inmates and, you know there is a line you don’t cross.
But it’s just amazing that with music it just bonds you together, because everybody is there for the love of music.
You kind of forget about your position. You forget you’re an inmate. You forget you’re staff.
You’re just brothers playing music.
And that’s huge to me. I mean, that just lifts my spirits up a lot.
Just the word “prison” alone sometimes has such a negative connotation, so building something positive within that is amazing.
It changes people’s perception. And I think perception is very important because prison doesn’t have to be bad. It can be positive. You can learn.
The “R” in my Rehabilitation means a lot to me.
This is rehabilitation. Music changes lives. It changes people. It changes attitudes.