Prison Transformations: The System; the People Inside and Me
Stephen Chinlund is an Episcopal priest and has been working with prisons and inmates for many years, on both sides of the fence. He as been a prison warden and an advocate for inmates and prison reform. The thesis he expounds in Prison Transformations is that prisons are a necessary part of society – some people do need to be separated from society for a period of time – and that prisons can be a redemptive place for those inmates who are interested in changing their lives. Chinlund mixes his life history working with prisons, along with stories of the inmates he’s worked with and known, and how prison provided them a chance at a new beginning after release.
His arguments that prisons serve a necessary part of society goes against many of his fellow prison reform advocates, and the redemptive quality of prisons disagrees with the popular opinion that prisons only serve as training ground for further criminal activity after release and that, once a person has been arrested or incarcerated, they’ll always be a threat to society. Prison can be the catalyst for change, provided the inmate wants to change, and is given the tools or skills to make those changes (along with the skills to manage their life after release.) Even as people point to the 50%+ recidivism present in most prison systems, the part that is often not noticed is the flip-side to those percentages. Many people go through prison once, learn the necessary lesson(s) they needed, and never go back. Chinlund’s points are well served by looking at those people. Prison doesn’t have to be a waste of an inmate’s life, nor does it have to be a stepping stone to a further life of crime.
|Page Count||252 pages|
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|Category||Biographies & Memoirs|