Notes from the Land of Oz

Dying to Be Free

He shuffles across the prison yard, hands in the pockets of a coat he’s worn for the past eight winters. When it was new, it more or less fit. Now it hangs from his frame like a shroud.

Don't Try to Understand

"The incomprehensible order or rule is a basic feature of life in prison." - Gresham Sykes, The Society of Captives, Princeton Univeristy Press. 1958.

It was mail call a couple of weeks before my birthday. I got a five-day notice from the property room.  A five-day notice is the prison’s way of telling you it has some piece of your property that you can’t have.

Secrets

The day after Dan’s parole hearing I found him leaning against the rail on the second tier looking glum. 

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.

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