The news that governors are suddenly deciding that they don’t want to welcome Syrian refugees has really driven home to me just how cowardly much of this country is. We talk tough, mind you, but when we’re asked to really open ourselves up to something, we refuse....more
Posts Tagged: prison
In prison, Gustavo “Goose” Alvarez learned to love ramen. Now Alvarez has a book of recipes based on his time in prison, interspersed with stories like the time when food saved his life during a race riot:
“They were stuck there for hours, freezing in the cold,” Alvarez says of his would-be attackers.
Over at Hazlitt, Sarah Gerard interviews Matthew Seger, who is currently incarcerated in a maximum security prison, and reveals what it’s like to keep up a writing discipline behind bars:
Before, if I wanted to write something down, I’d scribble it onto some notebook paper and then later transcribe it into a Word document and save it onto a hard drive.
New York City bookstore The Strand has started selling “Make America Read Again” hats that mock The Donald’s campaign slogan, “Make America Great Again.”
Toledo-area bookstore J’s Book Shelf is helping local inmates get access to reading material, donating 22,000 books....more
At the Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates unflinchingly analyzes and condemns the history of mass incarceration in America and its disproportionately devastating effect on black families:
The blacks incarcerated in this country are not like the majority of Americans. They do not merely hail from poor communities—they hail from communities that have been imperiled across both the deep and immediate past, and continue to be imperiled today.
For the Guardian, Erwin James reflects on his experience reading while in prison, and how books like David Levering’s Prisoners of Honor reshaped his life:
I was without skills or abilities, but I could read. I’m sure the six books a week I was allowed from the prison library helped to keep me alive during that uncertain year, unlike the man in the cell above mine who hanged himself during my first Christmas inside.
We’ve been thoroughly trained to not have empathy for people who’ve been convicted of violent offenses—even though that could mean many things, and I believe all of us have the capacity to do violence. People have also been trained to be fearful.
Drugs and petty crime landed Daniel Genis in prison for ten years. He spent his term reading and working on his three-hundred page novel—but only after dropping $375 on a clear plastic typewriter, the only model he was allowed. Genis spoke with The Airship, describing what it was like writing from prison:
A typewriter contains enough metal rods and plastic shards to murder a fair amount of people, so one would think that this would be an issue.
The New York Comics & Picture-Story Symposium is a weekly forum for discussing the tradition and future of text/image work. Open to the public, it meets Tuesday nights from 7-9 p.m. EST in New York City....more
MobyLives reports that British prisons have banned books sent as gifts, a right even allowed in notorious Guantanamo Bay. Many British authors have criticized the new policy—an online petition has collected more than 20,000 signatures. Even prison staff seem to think the policy is a bad idea....more
We’ve blogged a bit about Orange is the New Black from storytelling and feminist angles, but what do real-life women who have been to prison think about the show?
According to the women Kat Stoeffel talked to, it’s actually pretty accurate—especially the part about the maxi-pads....more
In Meridian, when schools want to discipline children, they do much more than just send them to the principal’s office. They call the police, who show up to arrest children who are as young as 10 years old. Arrests, the Department of Justice says, happen automatically, regardless of whether the police officer knows exactly what kind of offense the child has committed or whether that offense is even worthy of an arrest.
Mother Jones features a gripping story by Shane Bauer, who in 2009 was apprehended on the Iraqi border and imprisoned in Tehran’s Evin Prison in Iran for 26 months, 4 of which were spent in solitary.
Using his experience as reference, he probes American prison policies on solitary confinement, particularly the processes of California’s Pelican Bay State Prison’s Security Housing Units, or SHUs....more
“We couldn’t even imagine that the authorities would be so dumb that they would actually legitimize our influence by arresting us. Sure, Tsentr E tried to intimidate us by tailing us constantly. But unlike Putin, we’re not chickenshit—so we didn’t stop performing.”...more