Pros and Cons Program
In his talk, Hugh Christopher Brown explains how the instigation of a music program with inmates taught him the importance of mentorship in prison; and how its effects on convicts deepened his understanding of what music is.
I was first motivated to get inside when the federal government began dismantling highly functioning programs, the chaplaincy and compassionate care inside prisons. It was obvious the tactic was to wreak havoc on successful programming to rationalize privatization of correctional services. Input from American senators who had experienced first hand the perils of a punitive based private prison system was unwelcome. Our crime rate had been dropping for over a decade and the severity index was in steady decline for 17 years. The sabotage of the agrarian and other successful programming in prisons was blatantly not in the public interest.
From June 5, 2014: Kingston Whig Standard
About three years ago, as the prison farm at Pittsburgh Institution was decommissioned, musician Chris Brown felt compelled to do something to fill the newly created void.
“I became involved with that, and wanted to continue contributing to my environment,” explained the Wolfe Island resident. “In the past, I have a history of doing protests and fundraisers, and this time, especially with the destruction of the farms, I wanted to get in there and do something positive.”
So Brown approached the then-chaplain of the minimum-security prison, Kate Johnson, one evening after, fittingly, the documentary Music in the Big House was aired as part of a fundraiser.