DAVID GILMOUR: Fighting for Prisoners
David Gilmour, Billy Bragg and Johnny Marr are among the many U.K. artists who’ve signed a letter published in the Guardian newspaper urging the British government to overturn a ban of steel-strung acoustic guitars, while nylon-strung guitars are still permitted.
They write, “We believe music has an important role to play in engaging prisoners in the process of rehabilitation. However, this ability will be seriously undermined if inmates are unable to practice between group sessions… This ruling will mean that these instruments are kept under lock and key until time for a supervised session, if the prison in question has provision for musical tuition. The stipulation that only nylon strings can be used will not alleviate this situation. There are several practical reasons why nylon strings are not suitable for a steel-strung acoustic guitar, not least the differing methods by which nylon and steel strings are attached to the instrument.”
They also point out that since this ban went into effect last November, there have been a total of 50 self-inflicted deaths in British prisons, more than double for the same period the previous year.