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22 May 2019
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Banned Books = Banned Knowledge

Arizona prison officials have taken the “banned books” policy an additional step: they have banned a book by a former federal prosecutor, citing of course “security.” Paul Butler, “Chokehold: Policing Black Men.  This decision is border-line nuts. I assume they read only the title, because the contents warn over and over against any violence or […]


16 May 2019
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AL abortion law = women giving birth in jail/prisons

We have to assume someone in the mindless Alabama legislature thought ahead to this consequence: arresting women who need abortions will not stop the unwanted birth, but will instead fill local jails with expectant and reluctant mothers. Imagine! Doctors? Nurses? Sterile conditions? Child services? What a draconian mess! I assume the sperm donor-fathers will have […]


3 May 2019
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Insys Therapeutics hired a stripper to lap dance and get doctors to prescribe fentayl. He was found guilty. His victims? Hooked or dead.


2 May 2019
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The Texas legislature is considering a bill that would create a new office, funded through the governor’s office. The Independent Oversight Committee would comprise professionals who could enter prisons.


21 June 2018
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Taxpayers’ annual $80 BILLION for prisons enriches private companies

Private companies make $31 billion annually off prisons. There’s a better use of your money.


15 February 2018
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Syracuse Writing Professor Reaches Behind Bars

How many college professors are willing to spend time and resources inside a prison?  (no many) How many college professors admit their father was in prison most of their lives (ho!) Well, here is the exception, and I hope you buy the book–all proceed will support inmate education. https://www.insidehighered.com/news/2018/02/14/author-discusses-new-book-about-teaching-literacy-prison#.WoWRwmBaZSc.link  


10 November 2017
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Inmates letters and cards can make your heart sing

I receive hundreds of letters from men and women who want to ask about grievances, or want to discuss literature.  Every once in a while, I also receive a card.  These two represent the gamut of possibilities, I think.  The hand-colored bunny was from an illiterate inmate who colored the picture but had a friend write […]


5 November 2017
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New Jack: Guarding Sing Sing

With all the news about closing prisons and abuses within the prison system, we need to look at the problems Inside from as many angles as possible.  One that surprised me was a memoir written by journalist Ted Conover, who worked as a guard at Sing Sing until he just couldn’t. Correctional officers get only […]


5 November 2017
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Hole in my Life, great “novel” “memoir” by Jack Gantos

Hole in my Life, by Jack Gantos (Square Fish 2002) Every reader will love Jack Gantos’ true story of totally messing up his young life (and turning it around). His father wasted lots of energy and good advice on him:  “These folks [bad neighbors] zigged when the rest of the world zagged.  And once you […]


5 November 2017
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Find! Read! Journal of Prisoners on Prisons

Journal of Prisoners on Prisons, vol.25, Nu 1 (2016) I have arrived late to the smorgasbord of the Canadian compilation of essays written by and about prison, conditions, rehabilitation. But I’m delighted to be at the table.  I’m reviewing this one issue in the hopes that many of you will reach out and get a […]

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