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2 June 2016
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“The Lost Level,” reviewed by Rosendo Rodriguez

The Lost Level, Brian Keene (Apex Book Company) Reviewed by inmate Rosendo Rodriguez, Texas Dept. Corrections When I was a little boy, I often accompanied my mother to the Kemp public library in my hometown of Wichita Falls, Texas, and would lose myself for hours among the rows of books that offered countless worlds of […]


31 May 2016
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False Testimony in Child Abuse Cases

It can be a nightmare:  of course authorities have to take a molestation charge seriously;  child abuse cases get even more attention.  But what happens in those cases when a vengeful ex-wife or disgruntled grandparent decides to “fix his wagon”?    A book by 2 doctors–one now in prison–takes a detailed look at a possible scenario. […]


30 May 2016
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In-Prison Book Club Inspires

Ann Walmsely spent years leading in-prison books clubs in Canada. She is a compassionate writer and well-read teacher who inspired inmates to read, to think, and to write journals about the literature they read.

The Prison Book Club is set in Ontario, in and around a series of men’s prisons. Walmsely kept track of the books, the conversations, and the resulting journals, all while interspersing her own story and reactions.


27 May 2016
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Hope? Hard Time Offers Some

Hard Time: Understanding and Reforming the Prison.  Robert Johnson (Wadsworth, 3rd ed, 2002) Robert Johnson, American University Justice, Law and Criminology professor, gives a hard look at prisons in Hard Time.  He approaches them as both a scholar and a reformer, trying to educate readers:  “Almost everyone has an opinion about prison, but for the […]


10 May 2016
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Elder Inmates Cost! See Infographic

Between 2007-2010, the number of state and federal prisoners 65 years and older grew by a staggering 94 times that of the overlap prison population (which also ballooned).  A great new infographic highlights the causes and consequences in bold: http://www.criminaljusticedegreehub.com/geriatric-prisoners/ The impact?  Money.  Loss of life and health.  Society pays for long-term care and finally […]


4 May 2016
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The Human Life of a Texas Warden

Warden:  Prison life and death from the inside out, by Jim Willett and Ron Rozelle. (Bright Sky Press, 2004) Ron Rozelle decided to write the life and times of his college roommate, Jim Willett, to tell the story of a Texas prison warden who oversaw 89 executions, the prison farm riot, the Carrasco siege, and […]


2 May 2016
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Prison Education Guide–Superb Coverage

Prison Education Guide provides essential, detailed information about the educational courses offered to inmates. It is also a guide to re-entry success. Christopher Zoukis, federal prisoner, is an excellent researcher and writer. All prison libraries need a copy.


1 May 2016
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We Are, Indeed, All Doing Time

Bo Lozoff applies the techniques of Buddhist thought to all of us, and especially those incarcerated. 1.Simple living; 2.Personal spiritual practice; 3.Commitment to service. Useful, practical, great read.


9 April 2016
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Behind Bars: Surviving Prison

Behind Bars: Surviving Prison by Jeffrey Ian Ross and Stephan C. Richards (Alpha, Penguin Group, 2002) Behind Bars takes readers from the arrest, to jail, to prison, and finally Outside.  The chapters are chronological and simple to follow. The authors’ second chapter should be the most useful as citizens enter to parallel universe of criminal […]


7 April 2016
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Prisoner Strike! Slave Labor Revealed

Probably you thought the days of inmates working in cotton fields, with an overseer on horseback, were all gone. Wrong. And it gets worse.

The Constitution’s 13th Amendment bans slavery and involuntary servitude, “except as a punishment for crime” — meaning that the U.S. has approximately 2.3 million disenfranchised slaves in what is today a multi-billion dollar a year industry.

Should prisons require inmates to work? Should work be optional? Should prisons pay inmates for that work? How much? If that work competes with local businesses who cannot sell/manufacture to compete with the low costs of inmate goods, should the prison stop that work?

On September 6, prisons across the country plan a work stoppage to draw attention to these questions. This week, Texas inmates are already involved in a planned work stoppage–so TDC is locking the inmates in their cells. TDC insists these lock-ins are normal, scheduled, and not punitive. I sure hope that’s correct.

Mostly I fear for the inmates’ safety. Prisons are never thrilled to have a protest, even a sit-down work stoppage. They realize that movements created publicity, and publicity opens the light into the secret world inside prisons. How many lives will be lost this time? How many will be injured? And what will we, as citizens, do to man-up to their exposed misery? I hope we stand a ring the bells, scream in the legislative hallways, write letters and email s to prison officials, march outside the prison walls.

Are you as ready as they are to make a sacrifice of an hour, a trip, a phone call?

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