"My Life of Crime": Prison music class offers convicted murderers like Pamela Smart a temporary "escape"
Just an hour north of New York City, the Bedford Hills Correctional Facility is home to some of New York's most notorious murderers.
For the latest episode of her "My Life of Crime" podcast, "48 Hours" correspondent Erin Moriarty spends time getting to know some of them in an unusual setting: music class.
In "Music and the Murders: Behind Prison Walls at Bedford Hills," Moriarty talks with a group of women participating in a Wednesday night songwriting workshop for prisoners — a rehabilitation program run by volunteer musicians.
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The inmates include Kim Brown, who was convicted for killing her last music teacher, and Pamela Smart, who was convicted in 1991 of conspiring with three teenagers to have her husband killed. Smart, who was sentenced to life in prison maintains her innocence.
When Moriarty sees Smart, the inmate is wearing pink sneakers and lots of gold jewelry. Not a blonde hair is out of place. "I still try to keep my girly self up. You know, I mean, I try because I feel like if I don't care about the outside, I'm not going to care about the inside anymore," Smart tells Moriarty.
"I don't want to die here. No, I don't," Smart says. "And I would like to be able to go home and take care of my parents, to live a life. I have dreams and aspirations for myself. But, mainly, I wanna be able to be with my family. I've been away from them for so long."
Smart opens up about her case, her time in prison, and being attacked when she first arrived at Bedford Hills.
She says the songwriting class is a way to get away from being Pamela Smart. "It's an escape from this place, more so than an escape from the garbage that goes around myself, my name, and all of that," Smart says. "It's more of an escape from the drudgery of incarceration, you know, and day-to-day routine, that can be stifling and very oppressive all the time."
"My Life of Crime" is a new podcast from the producers of "48 Hours," America's true crime destination. The series is quickly resonating with listeners as they go along with Moriarty for her immersive, intimate and sometimes irreverent take on true crime stories. Some are infamous — some are little known — but all include Moriarty's signature reporting.
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