CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Inmates in the HARP program at Chesterfield County Jail received a surprise of a lifetime Saturday, when American multi-genre singer and songwriter, Jason DeFord, known professionally as ‘Jelly Roll’ paid them a visit.
HARP stands for Helping Addicts Recover Progressively and is a voluntary jail-based treatment and recovery program for inmates who struggle with addiction.
Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard started the program in 2016, which has grown immensely in the past seven years, even receiving worldwide recognition.
DeFord has been open about his own addiction journey and his experience being in and out of jail.
The HARP program has a TikTok account with the username ‘HARPTOK,’ on which it frequently posts ‘Tapping Tuesday’ videos. The program started tagging Jelly Roll on its posts, but DeFord said he discovered them before he was notified. DeFord and Chesterfield Jail coordinated the visit and surprised all the participants in the program.
DeFord performed some of his hit songs, harmonized with the inmates, laughed, and most of all, showed folks who are recovering that they don’t have to let addiction define them.
“It’s crazy, dude. I mean, the last time I was in one of these places before I was doing music was obviously, I was inmate 00364950. So, to have my tour bus parked right outside inside the gate is wild. Is the craziest experience ever,” DeFord said.
“Once I started believing that change was possible, then things changed, started becoming possible. And that’s what I hope these guys get. I hope they look at me and go, ‘man, that can happen,’ you know,” DeFord said.
DeFord continued, “Who you were is not who you are and who you are isn’t even a picture of what you can be.”
Stay updated with 8News, as we share more about this experience next week.