Hiland Mountain Correctional Center inmate Marchela Fast holds her daughter Alaziah Fast-Detroy before Fast performs her lullaby at the prison in Eagle River on Saturday. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)
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Alaska Program Uses Music to Help Mothers Behind Bars Stay Connected with Their Prison Kids

One Alaska program is helping incarcerated mothers stay connected with their children even while behind bars. It encourages better parenting through music.

Lullaby-Project-Workshop-Session
Lullaby-Project-Workshop-Session. Image by Jennifer Taylor

At the Hiland Mountain Correctional Center, the prison hosted it’s 2nd annual Project Lullaby Concert. It’s a program that encourages moms in prisons to be good, loving mothers to their children with the help of the universal language of music.

What is Project Lullaby? How Does It Help Prison Kids?

It’s called Project Lullaby, and it works to put local musicians and 15 Hiland inmates together, so they can learn to write songs for their children. One inmate that was chosen to participate in the program this year has said that it’s really hard to let your kids know how you’ve messed up to wind up behind bars.

Music really helps you to express your feelings without feeling awkward or weird, she says, and it also helps kids to better understand what their moms are struggling with.

Many of the women who have been able to participate in the program have said that music helps them to let their kids know how much they love them, and how sorry they are for making poor choices.

Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Lullaby Project Concert
Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Lullaby Project Concert. Image Source: ADN

Using Programs to Fight School-to-Prison Pipeline & Recidivism

It’s also a great way to let their kids know that they’ve never forgotten about them, and that they wanted to do the right thing for their kids.

The program has been successful so far. This may be a great step toward a two-fold reward for the Arkansas Department of Corrections:

  1. Put a dent in the high recidivism rate in America by sending inmates home to healthy family relationships
  2. Help fight the serious issues related to and causing the school-to-prison pipeline in the US by giving prison children fighting chances
Hiland Mountain Correctional Center inmate Marchela Fast holds her daughter Alaziah Fast-Detroy before Fast performs her lullaby at the prison in Eagle River on Saturday. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)
Hiland Mountain Correctional Center inmate Marchela Fast holds her daughter Alaziah Fast-Detroy before Fast performs her lullaby at the prison in Eagle River on Saturday. (Bob Hallinen / Alaska Dispatch News)

Video: Inmates Write Songs to Their Children & Sing Them Live for Project Lullaby Performance

KTUU Reports:

An audience of over 200 crowded the basketball court at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center Saturday afternoon for the prison’s second ever Project Lullaby Concert, a program that helps mothers behind bars connect with their children through music.

The Positive Effects of Project Lullaby for Children of Incarcerated Parents

One teaching artist has said that Project Lullaby has been rewarding on her end, too.

She says it’s powerful to hear stories about the children that matter to these women, and how their love for them is driving them to want to change and do better when they are released.

According to the Superintendent of Hiland, the program has already had a strong effect, and two of the former inmates that participated in the program just last year have come back to help with the project this year.

Melissa has been a freelance writer for 10 years. In that time, she has covered a plethora of topics. Her focus, though, tends to remain on addiction, natural health, health and nutrition, fitness, the paranormal, finances and more. In addition to her personal blogs, she is also a published author and editor of a rehab placement website.

Melissa Knight

Melissa has been a freelance writer for 10 years. In that time, she has covered a plethora of topics. Her focus, though, tends to remain on addiction, natural health, health and nutrition, fitness, the paranormal, finances and more. In addition to her personal blogs, she is also a published author and editor of a rehab placement website.