Prison Writings

Letters from the inside and out

Writing While Doing Life

I teach creative writing at New Folsom Prison. It’s right next door to the old prison, which they still use for lower security risk prisoners, and no, Johnny Cash never did any time there. New Folsom is a level four maximum security prison. It houses around three...

The Dragon-Princess

We, however, are not prisoners. No traps or snares are set about us, and there is nothing which should intimidate or worry us. We are set down in life as in the element to which we best correspond, and over and above this we have through thousands of years of...

Writings From The Outside

It’s possible I am pushing through solid rock in flintlike layers, as the ore lies, alone; I am such a long way in I see no way through, and no space: everything is close to my face, and everything close to my face is stone. I don’t have much knowledge yet in grief so...

All Sales Are Final

My attitude about my situation, it- strikes some as weird. After all, I’m serving life and have done so now going on fifteen years. “Don’t you ever want to get out?” they, ask. “What about all you are missing; all life’s nicities–surely there is something in the free...

So You Want to Sit in the Fire

So you want to sit in the fire. Let those who have tell you, let them tell you that mostly it means getting your butt burned, a mouthful of guts, of blood, tears you prayed you’d never have to cry and risking betrayal when you hang naked. But let them also tell you...

Will It Be Enough?

The circle for today, as marked on the calendar, did not form, like standing on the dry cracked earth waiting for the rain beneath an endless blue sky. The hearts meant to be there were at home and did not, could not make the journey because today hatred won as it...

Memo Regarding Violence

To: Mr. Mark Chastain – Associate Warden C Facility From: Men’s Support Group – C Facility Subject: Violence Due to the recent incidents of violence in this institution and the subsequent lockdown, we wanted to take this opportunity to express some of our views on...

2002 Year End Letter From Rob Allbee

Dear Inside Circle Supporters, It’s time for our year-end report and fund raising drive. With Spirit’s guidance and your support we have made it through another year. If we are to continue this important work next year we’re going to need your help again, as we are...

They Flew

They were men falling. Some falling quickly, like the stone, others very slowly, like the feather, one after another, falling. They held hands. They stood at the edge and one after another, they jumped. Some jumped right away to get it over with perhaps. While others...

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