Pritzker Administration and award-winning artist Common make big announcement

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CREST HILL, Ill. (WEHT) – The Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) is celebrating the roll out of a music production program at Stateville Correctional Center. A special ceremony was held at the facility Tuesday where Academy Award, Emmy Award and Grammy Award winning artist, Common, unveiled a new state-of-the-art music studio.

“Coming back home to be a part of this opportunity for the people of Stateville is my honor,” Common said. “I know personally how music can heal and allow the human spirit to be free regardless of your environment. I wanted to offer a world class studio experience to support these residents as they are committed to changing their lives. And this is just the beginning.”

All components of the studio, including computer equipment, mixing board, and instruments were funded by generous donors and Imagine Justice, a non-profit organization founded by Common. The organization is also providing funds for a professional musician to teach the class. This program is the first of its kind at IDOC.

“A truly just justice system keeps us all safer, and thanks to the generosity of Common and Imagine Justice, we’re taking another step to provide more opportunities for education and expression at Stateville,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “With this first cohort – and more to come – the Illinois Department of Corrections is honoring what it means to treat people as more than their sentence.”

The class is being taught by musician and songwriter Antony Ablan who founded a similar program at Cook County Jail. There are nine students in the program’s first cohort. During the 12-week course, students will learn song writing, audio engineering, music production and more.

“Our mission is to create a world-class studio and music program to facilitate creation, collaboration, and learning,” said Ablan. “We have no doubt there are many voices at Stateville that should be heard. So, we’re going to make the space. Music helps us all feel better and be better.”

To be considered for the music program, individuals applied and took part in an interview. Each participant who completes the course will earn time off their sentence.

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