Notes from the Land of Oz

Professional Courtesy

I arrived at the Receiving and Diagnostics Unit of the New Hampshire State Prison in June. It was a sultry summer. R & D is not known for its accommodations. My cell was a five by seven foot metal box that I shared with another inmate. There was barely space for a bunk and the stainless steel toilet-sink combination. We spent twenty-two hours a day locked down. A few tattered paperback novels provided the only distraction.

The First Week's Rent

Alvah was a small sixty-something guy who looked even smaller in his oversized prison-issue jeans jacket, hands stuffed deep in the pockets.

Take Me As I Am

The first time I met Chris was at a rehearsal for the Catholic choir. Chris was from Kentucky. I figured maybe he was a lapsed Baptist or Methodist - definitely not a Catholic. But, most of us in the choir weren’t Catholic. We just wanted to sing and the choir was a respite from the daily grind of prison.

Geriatric Prison

Prisons all over the country are trying to figure out how to deal with an aging inmate population. Consecutive sentences and aggressive prosecution of crimes that put middle-aged men in prison, have resulted in many more grandfathers spending their golden years behind bars at the New Hampshire State Prison.

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