Billy Bragg

A ban on steel string guitars in prison cells in England and Wales has been lifted, thanks largely to the efforts of musician Billy Bragg. In 2007, Bragg founded Jail Guitar Doors, a project that since then has provided approximately 350 guitars to prisoner inmates.

As reported by the BBC, rules were instituted last November that forbade inmates from possessing the instruments outside supervised sessions. In the wake of the ban, Bragg, Johnny Marr, David Gilmour and other guitarists signed a petition letter asserting that the new rule undermined rehabilitation. “As an incentive to engage in rehabilitation individual access to steel strung guitars can really help the atmosphere on a prison wing,” said Bragg. “I've had a number of projects involving guitars on hold which now will be able to go ahead, and will allow those using music in prisons to get on with this important work.”