The Prison Music Project is an album of songs, poems, and raps by nine incarcerated (currently or previously) artists at New Folsom Prison (California State Prison – Sacramento). The project was started by a visiting artist, Zoe Boekbinder, in 2010. Zoe has been collaborating with Ani DiFranco, who produced the album, since 2014. The writers are Ken Blackburn, Spoon Jackson, Alex Batriz, Samuel Brown, Jacob “Drifter” Allen, Nathen Jackson, Abraham Banks, Bruce Dixon and Gregory Gadlin.
The objective is to bring the stories out into the community even if most of the people they belong to remain locked up. The profits from album sales will benefit reentry programs for people being released from prison. Programs run by formerly incarcerated individuals will be prioritized for funding. Non-profit organization, Voice of the Experienced, is partnering with the Prison Music Project to provide fiscal sponsorship.
Expected release is fall of 2019.
“I’m feeling like I’m getting something up off of my chest.” said Alex Batriz when asked what he thought about Zoe using his raps on the album.
“It tickles the shit out of me,” Ken says when asked what he thinks of Zoe’s version of his song. “The biggest compliment one songwriter can pay to another is to use their material.”