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date: 23 January 2022

Abstract and Keywords

Approaches to incarceration and community music vary widely. This chapter examines music-making in US and UK prison contexts, suggesting new insights into the values, applications, and meanings of community music. Contrasting approaches towards imprisonment exist not only across the globe, but also within particular countries. In the United States, a wide range of practices within the contexts of imprisonment occur, such as differences in incarceration rates between whites and people of color, sentence lengths, use of capital punishment, voting rights, and quality of legal representation. Inmates’ opportunities for self-expression are restricted. Research and practice in music-making in prisons suggest that community music approaches within prisons provide a means towards desistance, improved self-esteem, social support and a sense of accomplishment. Music-making within the complex power dynamics of prison contexts emphasizes the importance of the welcome and hospitality within our understanding of community music.

Keywords: community music, criminal justice, desistance, incarceration, music in prisons, possible selves

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