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Thursday, October 11, 2012The Cook County Sheriff's Office will kick off the new "Jail Guitar Doors" program at Division 11 today which will offer an eight‐week guitar lesson program for inmates.

Jail Guitar Doors was founded by Billy Bragg in 2007 to honor the life of The Clash band's founder Joe Strummer. It is named after The Clash's song "Jail Guitar Doors" which came out in 1978 to tell the story of the imprisonment of fellow musician Wayne Kramer of MC5. In 2009, Kramer and Bragg partnered to found Jail Guitars Doors USA, a program that combines musical instruments with educational programs to assist inmates.

Jail Guitar Doors USA is a foundation that believes prisoners provided with the musical tools to create songs of their own can achieve a positive change of attitude that can initiate the work necessary to successfully return to life outside of prison walls.

"I am very excited to be partnering with the Jail Guitar Doors program as Wayne and I share similar perspectives," Sheriff Dart said. "By giving opportunities to those while incarcerated here at the Cook County Jail, we hope to provide skills that will allow them to be productive citizens and avoid returning to their former lifestyles."

This new program is designed to manage stress, express feelings, enhance memory and improve communication. The program will also feature song-writing as part of the eight-week course.

Ten inmates from Division 11 will receive a weekly one-hour group lesson beginning Oct. 18, donated by Mike Vanier, lead guitarist for local band Leadfoot. All ten guitars were donated by Kramer and nearly 300 inmates from Division 11 requested to be a part of this program.

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