The Lullaby Project is a program to promote healing and family connection by allowing parents inside detention centers to write music for their children on the outside.

It started in 2016, but this is the first year that it's included women experiencing long-term incarceration. 

"Women who will possibly never get out of prison, yet they have something impactful to say," said Shirley Mae Springer Staten, who founded the project. 

Staten noted that as part of the interview process for candidates to the project, inmates are required to enroll in classes, including parenting classes. 

"They're people just like you and me — that's what we've come to learn in the project. But they've made a mistake in their life and are incarcerated because of that," said Suzanne Little, one of the musicians who helps record the lullabies. 

"Our experience as musicians working with the moms is really profound, for both the musicians and the mothers in prison. And we are both enriched in the experience of writing a lullaby together," Little said.

Little says she worked one-on-one with a mom who has been in prison since 1997. 

"It was so impressive — the hope and positivity that she has about her life. And she said, 'I'm proud of myself. I haven't rotted here,'" Little recalled.

The public will have a chance to hear the lullabies first-hand at a special concert later this month. 

"This project gives those women a voice that has not only been silenced and marginalized — they still have something to say," Staten said.

The Lullaby Concert takes place at Hiland Mountain Correctional Center on Saturday, Nov. 16 at 1 p.m. Tickets are available at

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