Inmates at the Mid North Coast Correctional Centre (MNCCC) were given a 'second chance' with a special performance by the Second Chance Project Band recently. It was the band's 130th gig behind bars.
Prison Chaplain Gerard Byrne opened the concert with a prayer and then the complex erupted with live music. The group played a mix of hits including Better Be Home Soon by Crowded House, Paul Kelly's Dumb Things and the Little River Band's classic Help Is On Its Way. Aboriginal inmates with didgeridoos accompanied the band to Goannas' classic hit Solid Rock.
Another inmate upstaged the band with a traditional dance which broke into Michael Jackson-style moves. His impromptu performance almost brought 'the big house' down.
Inmates described the band's performance as a welcome change. Many said they related to stories from band members Alan Cann and Howard Smith, who had transformed their lives with religion.
A CSNSW staff member praised the band for bringing their messages of hope to the inmates. Another, who is a singer and heads up the local Worship Team at church, said the event put a spring in their step and had them singing all afternoon. A colleague added that it boosted staff's and inmate's morale.
Officers said the performance had a positive effect on the inmates' attitudes and made them more receptive towards staff and programs. It got inmates thinking about their life and how they still have time to make some positive changes.
One inmate said he felt enlightened by the messages which had fired up his passion to spread the gospel to other inmates. "We're often forgotten by the outside world and thanks to you I was able to lose myself during your performance," he said.