Although prisoners forfeit their full Constitutional rights, some rights are so crucial that not even conviction can strip them away. Among these are the rights to due process, equal protection, and, according to inmate Richard Glenn Young, the right to play music behind bars.
Young is no ordinary inmate. While serving a life sentence at the Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford in 2002, he was featured in a VH-1 documentary about his independent inmate band that was formed through his prison’s program . Yet after public outcry about the program, Graterford later decided to ban independent inmate bands like Young’s. Instead, inmates could play music individually in certain cells, and perform at “religious services, an annual talent show, and special events as approved by the facility manager” .