Who knew the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction has its own record label? This past summer it released its first album, Wings of Hope, which features inmates singing and rapping childhood favorites like Humpty Dumpty and This Old Man. The CD also includes original songs and poems written by the inmates, and parenting advice.
The project was sponsored by the Ohio Resource Network, which is a state-funded organization dedicated to ‘establish[ing] safe, disciplines [sic], and drug-free schools and communites’.
‘The original idea was to have the inmates perform lullabies for newborns, but the music—which includes several religious songs and some with hip-hop flavor—is geared more toward preschoolers.
The inmates volunteered for the project and were not paid.
…The CD was an effective way for the Ohio Resource Network to deliver those tips to people at high risk for alcohol and drug problems…. It also provided an opportunity for some talented inmates to do community service…’Read more →
Akron Beacon Journal
Unfortunately, the program had a bit of a backfire: one of the participating inmates was a convicted child kidnapper and rapist. The inmate did not sing or perform, but was a technical advisor and consultant to the project. Even so, his involvement put a damper on what was otherwise a fantastic idea.
‘The Ohio Resource Network and prison system had planned to hand out the discs to families of inmates, prison-related groups, children social services, public libraries and other community organizations. But now they will be limited to those with prison affiliations.’
So, seeking this particular inmate’s help was a slip, to say the least. But what a wonderful way to encourage awareness and involvement in childrens’ lives.
Here’s a selection of four songs (MP3) from Wings of Hope.
(Thanks, Phil! I didin’t notice the title of your post until after I wrote mine. I swear.)