We’re delighted that a ban imposed on prisoners using steel-stringed guitars in their cells has been lifted by new Prisons Minister Andrew Selous. In June, our Artistic Director Sara Lee met with former Prisons Minister Jeremy Wright, MP Kevin Brennan and Billy Bragg to discuss the implications of the ban. Due to a lack of clarity in the wording of the ban, there had been some confusion in prison security departments on exactly where it applied, with some implementing a blanket ban on use of steel-stringed guitars.
Brennan was instrumental in challenging the ban, raising the issue in the House of Commons. In a statement after hearing the ban had been lifted, Brennan said: “This is a victory for common sense and I’m pleased after months of campaigning the UK Government has listened. The power of music to help prisoners to rehabilitate is well documented. […]If we want to reduce reoffending we need to support purposeful activities like learning to play an instrument.”
Read more on Brennan’s website and the Guardian.