Sunday, July 24, 2016

Five of the best stories about prison life

Erwin James is a Guardian columnist. He served 20 years of a life sentence in prison before his release in August 2004. His books include two collections of essays, A Life Inside: A Prisoner's Notebook and The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole, and Redeemable: A Memoir of Darkness and Hope.

One of James's five best stories about prison life, as shared at the Guardian:
In the Place of Justice by Wilbert Rideau

Rideau served almost 44 years in prison before he was released in 2005. Rideau was originally convicted of murder and sentenced to death in 1961 when he was 19. His sentence was commuted to life imprisonment when the death sentence was temporarily abolished in Louisiana in 1972. Rideau spent the majority of his sentence in Angola State Penitentiary (also known as the Farm), where he started writing a column about prison life called The Jungle. Rideau went on to become editor of the Angolite, the prison’s award-winning magazine. In 1998 he helped to produce an Oscar-nominated documentary about Angola State, titled The Farm. The story of his life in this deftly written book is an example of what can be achieved in the direst circumstances with just a positive attitude and a pen.
Read about the other entries on the list.

--Marshal Zeringue