Wayne Kramer, MC5 guitarist, on prison and a sense of worth

Wayne Kramer went to prison for dealing cocaine after the MC5 disintegrated and his dreams along with it. He and Billy Bragg started JailGuitarDoors.org in 2009 to bring music into prisons as a path towards rehabilitation.


In 1978, The Clash released the song, “Jail Guitar Doors.” The song tells the story of the imprisonment of their fellow musician Wayne Kramer. In 2007, to honor the life of Clash founder, Joe Strummer, Billy Bragg launches an initiative in England to provide musical equipment used to rehabilitate inmates serving time in Her Majesty’s Prisons in the United Kingdom. His initiative is named for that very same song, “Jail Guitar Doors.”” In 2009, Wayne Kramer partners with Billy Bragg to found Jail Guitar Doors USA. Together, their combined effort continues the mission for prisoners in America. The circle is unbroken.

We seek opportunities to produce out-reach events and programs, in cooperation with prison officials, that bring musical instruments and education programs to the prison population. From our experience, we know that music can give voice to deep complex feelings in a new, non-confrontational way.

Update: Today’s LA Times has an article on this, California inmates welcome gift of guitars.