The artist helping prisoners to think differently about violence
*Kyle is serving a sentence at the Wolston Correctional Centre. As he quietly sat in his cell one day, writing his own music, Brisbane based hip hop artist Corey Baldwin, aka, CKing, came on the radio singing ‘Save Me’.
What is poignant about this particular song is that the lyrics are about domestic violence, which is what initially caught Kyle’s attention.
“I was rhyming when I heard ‘Save me’ and I thought, wow, this guy is singing about my life.”
“I flagged the song with Lynne, our Violence Prevention Coordinator, and said listen to this, it’s about a kid surviving violence. I think a lot of guys in here should hear this.”
He then asked Lynne if CKing could come and perform for them at the prison.
Lynne began researching CKing and the song that clearly made a huge impression on Kyle.
“I went home and spent all night trying to find contact details for CKing’s manager. I sent him an email explaining we had a prisoner here who loved his music and many violent offenders undergoing rehabilitation. I asked him if he would he consider performing at Wolston and he agreed,” Lynne said.
Lynne says Violence Prevention Coordinators provide an opportunity to find the balance between offering goals for prisoners to work towards, encouraging and rewarding pro-social behaviour but also establishing prompt and specific action for those who resort to violent behaviour.
“It’s about changing behaviour, teaching them to think differently, making better choices and getting them to understand that violence is not acceptable.”
Kyle said living in a domestic violence situation when he was younger meant he didn’t want to be home, so he joined a gang of organised crime and became the group’s drug trafficker. By 22, he had spent half of his young life in prison.
He turned to music to cope with the violence he endured in his life. His lyrics featured words such as ‘blue and red lights, sirens, the devil and spoke a full 30 second verse listing mhis deceased friends.
Corey Baldwin (CKing) recalls being ‘very anxious’ in the lead up to his performance at Wolston, but it was very special for him to perform.
“It was all very last minute, in a way, because Lynne said I would only be performing if the prisoners had behaved well.”
The performance went ahead as planned and CKing got to meet the man who was profoundly influenced by his music.
“This particular person had an incredibly terrible upbringing, which unfortunately ultimately led him to doing the wrong thing and ending up in Wolston.”
“I spoke with him and a lot of the other prisoners too. It was very emotional for me,” said CKing.
“If my music and my anti-violence messages can encourage prisoners to think about their actions, then my job is done.”
Kyle said the structure of music helps him stay ‘on track’ and said it had positively affected some of the other prisoners in the unit.
“CKing is one of my heroes now. When I get out, I’m going to do music.”
*Prisoner’s name has been changed for confidentiality