Friday, July 30, 2010

Fantasy and self-help and shanking

by Rachel

With Lindsay Lohan tucked away in jail, and a renewed interest in life behind bars, I think it’s time to come clean about my fascination with prison (and prisoners). From long drives while living in California to see a teeny glimpse of San Quentin, to thinking Prison Break was one of the greatest TV shows ever made, to spending days watching those Lockup documentaries while visiting family over the holidays—I’m kind of obsessed with what goes on in the pen.

So, I was rather intrigued to read Kenneth Hartman’s article on Huffington Post . Drawing from his 30 continuous years in a California slammer, Hartman gives his readers an exclusive rundown on prison reading—what genre would you expect to be the most popular? The answer might surprise you. What also might surprise you is that Hartman no longer has time to read books; he’s become an avid magazine reader due to the “oddly busy nature” of his life. Fair enough.

Something also rather interesting was this article in The Guardian that pointed out an alternative to prison terms; being sentenced to read! This saves the government money as well as steers people in a different (/better) direction.

What books do you think would be effective for rehabilitation programs like these?


  1. I saw this blog title and thought you were talking about me. LOL.

  2. How about The Gulag Archipelago, One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, 20,000 Years in Sing-Sing, King Rat, Papillion....

  3. I love to read, and I love it when others love to read, but I do not think that being sentenced to read would be very effective.

    I've studied criminology as part of my sociology degree. At least forty percent of the prison population is psychopathic as compared to one percent of the general population. Please be aware that being psychopathic does NOT mean crazy. To boil the ten features of psychopathy down quickly, they aren't crazy. They just literally care nothing but their own wants and desires and will always be that way.

    I could see benefits to reading to the non-psychopathic population, especially youth, but most of them need to rewire their behavioral responses to problems and emotions, so I do not think it will be effective by itself.

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