Artists who have served (or are serving) time in prison

By thefoureyedfox
updated over 7 years ago

There are two main guidelines for artists appearing on this list:

1: The artist had to go to prison for an extended period of time, generally with a sentence. Spending a short period in time for jail for a small offense does not count, as it would expand the list greatly with various DUIs and the like.
2. The artist had to be a musician or some other member of the music industry before going to prison, not during or after.

-Bertolome Zorzi, Venetian troubadour and 13th Century composer. Imprisoned for 7 years by the Republic of Genoa (who were at war with Venice) while traveling with a band of merchants to Byzantium.

  1. 1

    American rapper and actor.

    -Sentenced to 1½ to 4½ years of prison in 1995 for sexual assault. Served 11 months before being released on bail pending appeal. He was shot and killed in September 1996, before his appeal ever reached the courts.

  2. 2

    Norwegian Black Metal/Ambient artist.

    -Sentenced to and served 15 years of prison in 1994 for the arson of churches and the murder of Black Metal guitarist Euronymous.

  3. American singer-songwriter and former friend of Dennis Wilson (2), Gregg Jakobson and Terry Melcher, among other members of the industry. Allegedly also auditioned for The Monkees.

    -Sentenced to death in 1971 for multiple counts of murder and conspiracy to commit murder relating to a cult he had led. In 1972 the sentence was commuted to nine concurrent life sentences (which he is currently serving) when the state of California temporarily suspended the death penalty.

  4. American Rock 'n Roll pioneer, singer, guitarist and songwriter.

    -Sentenced to and served 3 years of prison in 1962 for transporting a minor across state lines.

  5. Norwegian Black Metal drummer.

    -Sentenced to 14 years of prison for murdering a gay man. Served 9 years and 4 months before being released.

  6. Nigerian Afrobeat pioneer, multi-instrumentalist and political activist.

    -Sentenced to 5 years of prison in 1984 for currency smuggling. Served 20 months before being released.

  7. American rapper.

    -Recorded and released the album "The Manhunt" while on the run from the FBI for killing a police officer. His eventual fate in unknown, but since he never released anything after it it is likely that he was eventually caught and convicted.

  8. British Glam Rock singer and showman.

    -Sentenced to and served 9 months of prison in 1999 for possession of child pornography.
    -Sentenced to 3 years of prison in 2006 for sexual abuse of a child. Served 2 years and 9 months after an appeal shortened his sentence.
    -Sentenced to (and currently serving) 16 years of prison in 2015 for multiple counts of attempted rape, indecent assault and sex with a minor.

  9. American Hardcore Punk singer and showman.

    -Sentenced to and served 1 year and 3 months of prison in 1989 for felonious assault.

  10. British singer and member of The Stone Roses.

    -Sentenced to 4 months of prison in 1998 for threatening to kill an airline pilot and stewardess during a flight. Was released on parole after 2 months.

  11. American session drummer.

    -Sentenced to (and currently serving) 16 years to life of prison in 1984 for the murder of his mother.

  12. Swedish Black Metal vocalist and guitarist.

    -Sentenced to and served 7 years of prison in 1997 for the murder of a gay Algerian man.

  13. American rapper and actress.

    -Sentenced to and served 1 year of prison and 1 month of house arrest in 2005 for conspiracy and perjury relating to a friend's shooting trial.

  14. American rapper.

    -Sentenced to 1 year of prison in 2010 for weapons possession and possession of marijuana. Served 8 months before being released on good behavior.

  15. American actress and Pop singer.

    -Sentenced to 2 months of prison in 2011 for jewelery theft. Due to prison overcrowding, she served 35 days of house arrest instead.

  16. American manager, businessman, and "boy band guru" behind such acts as the Backstreet Boys and *NSYNC on his Trans Continental Records label.

    -Sentenced to (and currently serving) 25 years of prison in 2008 for conspiracy, money laundering and making false statements, relating to a $300 million Ponzi scheme he had operated.

  17. American Country singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.

    -Sentenced to and served 3 years of prison in 1957 for robbery.

  18. American Folk singer and guitarist; one third of the Folk group Peter, Paul & Mary.

    -Sentenced to 1 to 3 years of prison in 1970 for sexual assault of a 14-year-old groupie. Served 3 months before being released. Pardoned by President Jimmy Carter (5) in 1981.

  19. American Rock producer (innovator of the "Wall Of Sound" technique) and songwriter.

    -Sentenced to (and currently serving) 19 years to life of prison in 2009 for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson.

  20. 20

    Norwegian Black Metal guitarist.

    -Sentenced to and served 16 months of prison in 1994 for arson of a church.

  21. 21

    Belizean rapper.

    -Sentenced to 10 years of prison in 2001 for attempted murder, assault and reckless endangerment. Served 9 years before being released and deported to Belize.

  22. British rapper and Hip Hop producer.

    -Sentenced to and served 5 years of prison in 1990 for attempted murder and illegal immigration. Attempted murder charges pardoned by New York Governor David Paterson in 2008.
    -Spent 17 months in prison in 2001 for illegal immigration.

  23. American Blues singer and guitarist.

    -Sentenced to 15 years of prison in 1928 for manslaughter. Served 2 years before being released.

  24. American singer-songwriter.

    -Sentenced to 1 year of prison in 1994 for drugs and weapons possession and for failure to appear in court. Served only 60 days before being released on the condition that he complete an outpatient drug treatment program.

  25. 25

    American rapper.

    -Sentenced to 3 years of prison in 2004 for violating probation stemming from a 1997 drug charge. Served 1 month before joining a work release program.
    -Sentenced to and served 1 year of house arrest and 1 year of prison in 2008 for possession of unregistered weapons.
    -Sentenced to and served 11 months of prison in 2010 for violating probation.