Bending the Bars: Original Album

The Community Hotline for Incarcerated People (CHIP) is producing an original album of music written by people incarcerated in Broward County jails. The album celebrates the artistry of incarcerated folks, amplifies their voices, and connects communities as we build power to decarcerate Broward County. It is also an invitation for similar projects nationwide.

CHIP: The Community Hotline for Incarcerated People

Founded April 5th, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CHIP is a grassroots prison abolitionist organization led by marginalized people including people of color, queer and trans people, system impacted folks, and our allies. During 2020-2021, CHIP documented conditions in the jails and our research supported the American Civil Liberties Union’s lawsuit against the Broward County Sheriff’s Office. Currently, CHIP is using media and art to amplify the voices of incarcerated people through our podcast, Tearing Down the Walls; a digital exhibit of art and letters from the jails; and interactive fiction storytelling about injustices in the system. We are committed to anti-racism, LGBTQ liberation, and bodily autonomy. Bending the Bars emerges from these commitments and from the incredible talent caged in Broward.

A Scalable Model for Dismantling the Prison Industrial Complex

Bending the Bars gives local artists a platform to share their work and it also provides an example of how this project could be replicated nationwide. We’re producing a documentary film about the album and can share our model for production with other groups.

Broward County Jails

Broward County is one of the worst jail systems in the country, with over a quarter of a century of ACLU litigation over the jail’s unconstitutional conditions. In this environment, hip hop has been a key way for incarcerated folks to use their time meaningfully, build community on the inside, and express themselves. Executive Producer Gary Field describes Broward County jails as an unintended “incubator” for hip hop talent. Artists and collaborators include IMZQREDY, Zoe Papi, Courtney P, The Alphabet Rockers, Adam Gottlieb, Dane Myers, and more.


CHIP began soliciting submissions for the album in September 2022, and recording demo tracks over the jail phone lines. Incarcerated artists have no access to recording equipment. Therefore, CHIP is working hard to connect incarcerated writers, singers, rappers, and performers with collaborators on the outside who can help bring these tracks to life. Despite the practical challenges, we’ve managed to support about 5 collaborations to get off the ground, and received dozens of additional submissions. On June 11, 2023, we will hold an early release party to celebrate the progress on the album to date.

We Need You

We’re seeking producers, beatmakers, and music industry professionals. Communication is expensive, so we also need financial support. Interested in learning more? Contact us.