Skip to main content


Students for Sensible Drug Policy "Legalize It!" Party

Free Table Space at Kennedy Center for Justice Organizations at “From Prison to the Stage” Program

[Courtesy of Prisons Foundation] We hope that you will be attending this year's exciting edition of "From Prison to the Stage" at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts on Saturday, August 30, at 8 pm. Presented by the Prisons Foundation, it features excepts of plays and musicals written by prisoners and ex-prisoners. If you attended last year's program you know it was a big success, with a large overflow crowd. To accommodate many more people this year, the Kennedy Center has designated the popular and well-accommodated Millennium Stage on the ground level for our program. "From Prison to the Stage" is presented as part of the Kennedy Center's internationally acclaimed Page-to-Stage Festival. Attendance is free and open to all. Also free this year is an opportunity for justice organizations to distribute their literature during the program. We are pleased to announce that there will be free table space available for this purpose. The entire cost of "From Prison to the Stage" this year is being underwritten by the program's producer, Lloyd S. Rubin, so no additional funds will be solicited from organizations to help with the expenses. Just spread the word so that attendance will be at an all time high. If you are a representative of a justice organization, please send a hundred or so pieces of your literature to the Prisons Foundation, 1600 K Street NW, Suite 501, Washington, DC 20006 a week prior to the event (no signs please). If you can bring the material to the Kennedy Center on the evening of the event (and of course stay for a great program), you are welcome to do so. Whether or not you plan to bring or send literature, we invite you to be there and to forward this notice to your email list so that we will get the largest possible turnout. This is an opportunity to educate while entertain the public about the talent and humanity of our brothers and sisters behind bars at one of the world's foremost cultural and performance centers, the renowned Kennedy Center. Come encourage prisoners to cast off their second-class citizen status as they provide us with a night of theatrical elegance and excellence. Thank you for your interest and support.

Funding Received for Musical Instruments for Prisoners

[Courtesy of Prisons Foundation] The Prisons Foundation, in conjunction with the England based Jail Guitar Doors project (, has received funding to purchase guitars to be sent to prisons and jails in the United States where they will be utilized by prisoners. If you know of any jail or prison whose prisoners could benefit from participation in this program, please ask a representative of that institution to email Joe Shade, coordinator of the program at [email protected] Thank you for your interest in this program.

Kennedy Center Show to Be Produced by Prison Art Gallery Seeks Ex-prisoner Musicians

[Courtesy of the Prison Art Gallery] We are pleased to announce that the Prison Art Gallery, in conjunction with its parent organization the Prisons Foundation, will be presenting a two-hour show at the Kennedy Center this Labor Day weekend, September 2007. The show is entitled "How Music Helped Me Escape from Prison" and will consist of singers and musicians who put their interest in music to productive ends while behind bars. If you are an ex-prisoner musician or singer, or know of an ex-prisoner musician/singer, there is still time to be included in the show. Each performer will have a designated amount of time to perform songs of her or his choice with brief remarks about how these songs helped her/him rise above the prison experience. For further information, please call 202-393-1511.

One in Three Hit Songs Contain Drug References

When the kids aren't sniffing poo and gobbling Aqua Dots, they're listening to drug-laced rap anthems and probably thinking about getting wasted:
Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, who studied the lyrics of hundreds of popular songs, found that one in three mention alcohol or drug use.

Most lyrical references to substance use were associated with partying, sex, violence and, or humor. The use of drugs and alcohol was motivated by peer pressure, sex, and, or money. Only four songs explicitly had anti-use messages. [Reuters]
I was initially surprised by the 1 in 3 result. It sounds like a lot, hence the scare story from Reuters. But if you think about what makes a song popular, it makes perfect sense. Popular music has to resonate with the "cool" kids, and you can't win them over by singing about puppy dogs and the pleasures of sobriety.

Ultimately, drugs are just part of our popular culture and that isn't going to change. What can change is the drug war mentality that glorifies some of the worst aspects of our society. Chart-topping rap music, for example, has turned drug-dealing thugs into folk heroes. The music doesn't inspire this activity, rather it documents it, providing listeners with a window into a world that is unfamiliar to most.

Rap stars and rockers will always brag about misbehaving, and awestruck youth will always gaze curiously at this dramatic spectacle.  But tabloid headlines and sensational  lyrics aside, many of our celebrities are hardworking people who've learned to use drugs responsibly. Maybe they're not such bad role models after all.