Big Issue Changemaker Judah Armani is leading the effort to keep thousands of prisoners across seven prisons connected during the Covid-19 crisis with new weekly magazine Aux.
Armani founded InHouse Records, a by-prisoners-for-prisoners record label supporting people serving time through writing, playing and producing music both while inside and after they’re released.
The rehabilitative programme pivoted from nurturing music-makers to magazine publisher in response to prisoners’ experience of “near total lockdown” during the pandemic, with most kept in their cells for nearly 24 hours a day.
Aux covers a mix of educational content to keep prisoners’ creative juices flowing during lockdown – including song-writing tips, rhythm explainers and cultural analysis.
Armani said: “If we want to see safer communities, less victims of crime and a reduction in recidivism then we need similar initiatives now more than ever to see the person not the prisoner and create the space for transformation.”
The InHouse programme has been supported by talent like Jamie Cullum – who also penned a piece on creativity for the new magazine – and saw six ‘graduates’ invited to perform at Latitude Festival in 2019. The project has improved positive behaviour in prisons by 428 per cent and 80 per cent of those involved while inside keep participating after release.