Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Walter Lomax Wrongfully Convicted

Walter Lomax, released from Maryland prison system about 8 years ago, continued his fight to prove his innocence.  The 6pm news today showed a triumphant Walter at the courthouse step, finally vindicated.  Walter was one of the inmates who worked with me on the Family Literacy Program where prisoners read to their children.  I remembered my blog post when I first saw him on the street in 2008. Waiting to Hear Barak Obama

Congratulations to Walter

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Ex Felons and Voting

The Supreme Court recently stated  Maryland's prisoners for census purposes should be counted at that their last address, instead of the prisons where they are housed.  Approx. 75% of Maryland's prisoners are from Baltimore  city and Prince Georges County. See Washington Times article. California, Delaware, and New York, and Maryland up to this point, are the only states that allow this.

States and ex felons voting status.     Rock The Vote site :

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Liberal Arts Classes in Prisons

The years I worked in prisons and with prisoners, opened my eyes to the necessity for community groups to go inside the fence to help show prisoners other ways than the path that led them to prison.

Traditionally outside help had a mainly religious focus.  It is encouraging more recently,  to see a broader spectrum of community support with programs that will broaden prisoners' experience and help direct  them to be more successful when they return to society. The Goucher Liberal Arts Program  reported in the Washington Post is showing inmates another way.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

High cost of inmate phone calls

Prison phone companies make huge profits from inmate phone calls.  An inmate phone call to a family member, that includes his/her child can cost up to $17.00 for 15 minutes.  The ACLU is trying to get the FCC to pass some regulations to reduce the cost.  Link to the ACLU site:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Safe Street Art

Funded by NEA and concerned citizens, the Safe Street art was established to help, create, and sell prison art.

According to the information on their site, while in prison, there is not much mentoring of prisoners to help prepare them for successful reentry.  They are located in Washington DC and seek volunteers. 
Their latest post highlighted the book by someone incarcerated for 38 years.
  See their post:

"Huck's Picks is written by Charles "Huck" Huckelberry who spent 38 years in prison before his recent release. He used his time on the inside very productively, honing his writing skills and accumulating numerous awards and honors. If you've seen our annual prisoner dramatizations at the Kennedy Center, you're familiar with some of his work".  Check out the Safe Street Art Website.  Safe Street Art 

Friday, June 14, 2013

Conversations with a Prisoner

Going through my prison library journal, I came across this entry from the 90s.  One day I will include  it in the book that everyone is encouraging me to write.
JT the Prisoner

JeyT had tattoos all over his arms.  He said each one represented some philosophy, theology, or some girl he dated or with whom he was in love.

He said that among the many things he did for a living, he also did tattoos on people for $100 per hour. He cited doctors, lawyers, and other professionals among his customers.  “You just don’t see it because sometimes it’s a small symbol and it’s hidden.  Many people with tattoos wear long sleeves.  The heat from the sun will drain the dye, so it’s better to cover it. “

JT was an avid science fiction reader who declared that most of the books I had in the prison library,  were rereads for him.  He said on this day he would not borrow many books because he felt he was leaving soon.   I thought he was leaving for his freedom, but he said no, he was leaving for a state prison, and a long sentence.
I expressed surprise, when he informed me he had been in prison for 15 years.
‘You must like it, I said why you commit another offense to return.”   “No.” he said, “The prison system does not prepare you to go back into society.  You spend the greater part of your life in prison.  There everything is done for you.  People tell you what to do every step of the way. You don’t have to worry about rent or any other form of expense.  Then you are placed back in society.  You are confronted with the pressures, people’s behavior, expenses, and so many negative forces.  You were never taught or prepared to cope with these.  It is very easy to find the easiest way out.”

“You articulate the problems very well, so having identified them I expect you would have been one of those who could cope.”

He laughed. “The judge said the same thing, but you have to understand it is one thing articulating, it is another thing to actually deal with it.”

He would have continued, but it was time to go.  He had chosen to spend his allocated recreation time in the library, and now he must return to his cell.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Prison Education

 Below is an Article and comments from the web site  :  Social Justice

U.S. Prisons Don’t Fund Education, and Everybody Pays a Price
After a murder charge at 13, Xavier McElrath-Bey earned a college degree behind bars and now saves lives. All convicts should have that chance.
By Matthew Fleische

Working as a prison Librarian dealing directly with inmates, and later as the Coordinator for all Maryland state prison libraries, I found the library was a transforming place for inmates, majority of whom had never visited a library before incarceration.