Common opens recording studio for Illinois prison inmates

A prison near Chicago, Illinois now has a recording studio, thanks to rapper and activist Common. As SCS2 reported, the “Come Close” emcee blessed inmates at Statesville Correctional Center with a music studio complete with mixing desks, musical instruments, microphones and sound panels. The aim is to create a productive environment allowing prisoners to develop new skills during their sentence.

“Gentlemen who are incarcerated deserve access to better things in life, which is why I fight for my city,” Common said. “And that’s why my heart is always with Chicago. Being from Chicago is one of the greatest gifts and assets for me in my career and in my life.

According to CBS 2, Common’s donation was fueled after a conversation with attorney Ari Williams. The young lawyer reportedly had a vision for the inmates of Chicago State Prison and reached out to the actor with his idea.

“I know that music brings us all together. I want them to be okay,” he said. “I want them to do something they love to do. And I know a lot of them are rappers. They like to rap and they like to sing.

With the installation of the new recording studio, Common’s Imagine Justice nonprofit will run a 12-week program for Statesville inmates that will provide them with knowledge about music production, music-making, and recording.

According to Alyssa Williams of the Department of Corrections, participating in the course can gradually reduce prison terms for some inmates. “Every day they are in this program [inmates] earn a day’s credit on their sentence, as long as the law permits,” she explained, adding that the course ultimately gives those who are incarcerated optimistic thoughts about their lives and their future.

“It brings them so much hope and inspiration,” she said. “Letting them know that people really care about them can change them too.”

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