Crime and country music: Johnny Cash

Country music star Johnny Cash sang about prisons and pushed for prison reform. (Photo: StockXchng)

Johnny Cash highlighted some pressing social issues in his songs. (Photo: StockXchng)

You’ve heard of Johnny Cash the American country music star, but have you heard of Johnny Cash the prison reform activist? Cash wrote or performed at least 60 songs about crime, prison, chain gangs, the death penalty, and redemption, according to an article published in the State University of New York at Albany’s Journal of Criminal Justice and Popular Culture. Cash campaigned for prison reform, wrote to prisoners and even performed in prisons. The album Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison is one of the most famous albums of the 1960s.

To watch Cash performing the song Folsom Prison Blues in front of prisoners in Tennessee, click here.

To listen to Cash’s original live recording done at Folsom prison, click here.

To read the article Johnny Cash: The Criminologist Within, click here.


About witsjusticeproject
The Wits Justice Project combines journalism, advocacy, law and education to make the criminal justice system work better for all.

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