Redemption Through Rhythm: Inmates Form Worship Band, Bringing Light to Other Prisoners

In Hinton, Oklahoma, a remarkable transformation has taken place within the walls of the Great Plains Correction Center, where inmates have formed a worship band, bringing a glimmer of hope and spiritual revival to the confines of their incarceration.

This initiative, led by inmates like Scott Taylor, who is serving a staggering 9,999-year life sentence, transcends mere musical performance. “This is my release,” he he told ABC 5 News.

For Taylor, who has spent 38 years behind bars the band serves as a beacon of change in an environment often devoid of hope.

The setting for this unconventional worship band is an old vocational tech building, repurposed into a makeshift church. Here, without the grandeur of giant stages or sophisticated sound systems, the band performs for fellow inmates during Sunday morning services. Their efforts are more than just a musical endeavor; they symbolize a journey of redemption and personal transformation.

Scott Taylor, reflecting on his involvement, sees it as a legacy he can one day share with his family. “It’s something that I can turn around one day by the grace of God and tell my kids and grandkids about. That I was a part of the change at this facility,” he said.

Michael Shwarz, another inmate in the band, speaks to the power of music in penetrating the heart and emotions, offering a therapeutic escape from the struggles of prison life.

“Music goes through a whole different section of the mind and the brain. It goes straight to the heart and straight to emotion,” Shwarz said, sharing how the band’s music can foster emotional and spiritual healing.

Chaplain Jeff Laird, who oversees the spiritual well-being of the inmates, emphasizes the inclusivity of the worship services. Open to all faiths and denominations, these services aim to save souls and provide fresh starts.

Laird’s own brush with incarceration, having come close to being an inmate himself at Banning Correctional Facility in California, gives him a unique perspective on the challenges and needs of the prison population.

“I was this close, and God put that in my heart to be a chaplain,” Laird said.

Laird hopes to lead other’s to real change and believes this band is a good start.

“These guys have already been sentenced. We’re here to make what can be a dark place full of light,” Laird said.

This program is as a powerful reminder of the role faith and community can play in bringing light to dark places, offering hope and a path towards redemption.