Elfenworks Productions » Music » Music Video – Rough Justice
Music Video – Rough Justice

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Storytelling for Hope

This song – dedicated to Rosalynn Carter, tireless mental health advocate – is a call to action to break negative cycles including abuse and incarceration, through one young woman’s real life experience.  And it’s also a tale of hope, and caring…  “we can do better,”  because “kids learn what they live, we must have something better to give.”

The true story conveyed in Rough Justice came to us through a friend who works in prison ministry. The statistics are also sadly real. Find out more in this New York Times article: Moore, Solomon, “Mentally Ill Offenders Strain Juvenile System,” New York Times, August 9, 2009. 

Rough Justice features powerfully beautiful vocals by Alison Lewis contrasted against the harsh picture that is painted, and calling us to a more hope filled and life affirming path.  There are so many ways to improve on today’s situation: investing in and nurturing America’s kids, intervention, diversion, and better access to mental health care for kids who do end up in prison. It’s rough justice… and we can do better!

Music/Film Details

A film by: Lauren Speeth, edited by Janice Rivera.  Barbed wire transformation concept:Josh Workman.  Photography by Lauren Speeth and Janice Rivera.Still photography of the band Commodore Callahan in performance courtesy the nonprofit organization BoysHopeGirlsHope.org, from their June 4, 2009 fundraiser.  Lyrics by Lauren Speeth, music by Josh Workman, arranged by Alison Lewis.  Studio recording, San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles, September 2009, Commodore Callahan. Featuring Alison Lewis, vocals backed up by Josh Workman and Lauren Speeth, with Josh Workman, guitar, synth and Don Kane, bass. Mixing: Josh Workman and John Watkins. Mastering: John Watkins.


REF) Rough justice, and we can do better. Rough justice…its the spirit not the letter.   Rough justice, children learn what they live. We must have something better to give.

Well a girl needs options before it gets rough… Somewhere to turn when the going gets tough.   What do we offer that’s not streets, jail or prison, Is it a school or asylum we’re missin’? Meds kept her mind from goin’ bad places …all those black eyes & bloody faces…   It was still hard, but it kept the memories at bay, ’til the warden – cold turkey – just took it away.

Yea, the one who beat & raped her now is dead… she did it, sometimes she wishes he killed her instead. Hard time’s a lifetime, sleep’s like a friend… waitin’ for a dream to free her again.  Who wins and who loses when we make these deals…  Swapping meds cold turkey, who cares how it feels.  Slavery wages, making bras for a dime… She’s stopped growing up, now she’s just doing time.

Ten thousand juvies per mental health pro…  Two thirds have problems, or didn’t you know?  Compassion is out, incarceration is in, it’s an industrial complex, an obsession with sin. She’ll pay the cost – 18 years. She’ll pay the cost in cold angry tears. The good Lord loves even you, locked away there… Even when you think nobody, nobody cares.

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