I am within a few months of completing a thirteen year term of imprisonment. You'd think I would be ecstatic, that I could do the rest of my time "standing on my head", as the saying goes. But each day I find myself becoming more and more frustrated, angry and disillusioned. I've experienced a steady decline of hope since arriving at CMC from San Quentin. It is because here I have no sense of purpose, of forward progress, and the disappointment is that no one in authority seems to care.
Click here to read the complete story, Dispatches from the Inside, by California Men's Colony (CMC) inmate Richard Gilliam
The Insight Prison Project Board of Directors is pleased to announce the arrival of Ms Ellen M. Barry as the new Executive Director of Insight Prison Project, effective immediately.
Ellen Barry has worked as an advocate for criminal justice, racial justice and human rights for over 35 years. She founded Legal Services for Prisoners with Children (LSPC), a non-profit organization which has advocated on behalf of incarcerated parents, their children and family members and was executive director of that organization from 1978 to 2001. From 2002 to 2012, she worked as a consultant on criminal justice and other human rights issues. She is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a US-based movement which challenges the growth of the prison industrial complex and its detrimental effect on education, health and human services. She serves as an activist representative for the Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI), as co-chair of the board of the National Network for Women in Prison (NNWP), and as a member of the Prison Creative Arts Project Advisory Board.
What San Francisco schools are learning from their experiments with alternatives to punitive punishments.
Instead of being kicked out for fighting, stealing, talking back, or other disruptive behavior, public school students in San Francisco are being asked to listen to each other, write letters of apology, work out solutions with the help of parents and educators, or engage in community service. All these practices fall under the umbrella of “restorative justice”—asking wrongdoers to make amends before resorting to punishment.
Read the complete story from Yes! Magazine
Our criminal justice system asks these three questions:
More stories on restorative justice from Tikkun Magazine here.
Close your eyes and say to yourself, "state prison." Your mind likely fills with images, colors, sounds, emotions - all harsh - and most of them are probably accurate. But there is more to find in prison. There is humanity.
IPP Volunteer Becky LoDolce writes about her experiences inside San Quentin State Prison in New Cartographer magazine.
For complete story, visit the New Cartographer website.
One year at Princeton University: $37,000. One year at a New Jersey state prison: $44,000.
Prison and college "are the two most divergent paths one can take in life," Joseph Staten, an info-graphic researcher with Public Administration, says. Whereas one is a positive experience that increases lifetime earning potential, the other is a near dead end, which is why Staten found it striking that the lion's share of government funding goes toward incarceration.
See the complete chart of One Year of Prison Costs More Than One Year at Princeton here
"In San Quentin, a yoga program helps inmates cope with anger and violence issues that are endemic in California's over-crowded prisons".
Watch the Time magazine video "How Yoga Can Help In California's Overcrowded Prisons" here.
JAMES FOX, 60, of Bolinas quit a lucrative job as director of marketing for a prominent wine company while in his 40s to search for more satisfying work. Today, he teaches yoga and "mindfulness" practices to inmates at San Quentin State Prison and serves as programs director for the San Rafael-based Insight Prison Project.
Click here to read Ex-marketing exec finds satisfaction teaching yoga to prison inmates
"They try to breathe mindfully, but those taking part in James Fox's advanced yoga class must put aside the irregular alarm of sirens and guards issuing commands over a loudspeaker. Emancipating through yoga is never easy - especially at California's San Quentin prison".
Read "Doing a Long Stretch" here.
Yoga in San Quentin: Where a Step on the Mat is a Step in the Right Direction (Common Ground Magazine)
The eerie, rough-and-tumble mystique of San Quentin prison has been with me since I was a little boy listening to Johnny Cash’s At San Quentin on my plastic turntable decades ago. Staring at the vinyl disc turning round and round, my imagination spun in equal measure. Not only was I fascinated by Cash’s cooler-than-cool voice and desperado sense of humor, I couldn’t help being intrigued by all those outlaws in the audience. They were applauding and cackling at Cash’s jokes, but I wondered about the crimes they had committed and what life could be like inside that old jail. It gave me a shiver.
Fast forward nearly 40 years. I am in the lobby of the Hyatt Regency in San Francisco during Yoga Journal Conference. A calm, kind gentleman introduces himself as James Fox, a yoga instructor whose passion is teaching inmates at San Quentin.
To read the complete article, visit the Common Ground website, go to the back issues section, and look for September 2010. Yoga in San Quentin: Where a Step on the Mat is Step in the Right Direction by Rob Sidon starts on page 56.