Prison is Not Only a Place

December 21, 2010 § Leave a comment

Prison is also a spiritual condition.  And, I am concerned that all the well-meaning movements to change legislation and expose conditions don’t emphasize this nearly enough.

It is easy to communicate what we can “see.”  The walls, the bars, the frisk, the food, the bedding, the garb, the CO’s, the laws.  It is not nearly as easy to translate the everlasting feelings one is left with after having their freedom and identity severed.

I’m thankful there are people who care and want to change the prison industrial complex.  But, these things still focus so squarely on lengthy articles/essays and qualitative/quantitative research to inform.  Not only does this continue the disspatialized understanding society already has on so may crucial subjects, but it disregards the individual spirit that has been incarcerated and left to wonder if they ever really existed.

I have to do a lot of reading in my research for this project, and the element I see most frequently in my readings are numbers and quotes supporting or countering one methodology, theory or whatnot.  The individuals providing the information are lost in the data sets as are the readers.   Those inside are quoted and their voices edited to fit the purpose of the essay, the book, or the point being made.

Prisoners are not data.  The internal prison condition cannot be understood when edited or categorized.

What is lacking horribly, probably because it takes more time than most want to invest, is turning up the volume of that inner voice.  We talk about education, re-entry, recidivism and living conditions, but we rarely acknowledge the one thing that affects all of these others.  The spirit of the people they apply to.

With that said, my project has taken a formidable turn.  The name will change and my goal will change.   The blog will change.  It’s all taking shape now, with help from some very experienced individuals.

I introduce the first of many first-hand voices of value:

  • From Corrections to College: The Value of a Convict’s Voice by Leyva, Martin and Christopher Bickel (2010); Western Criminology Review 11(1):50-60.
  • Abstract: The rise in mass incarceration has been accompanied by an abandonment of first-hand, in-depth accounts of crime and incarceration. Too few criminologists have stepped foot inside a prison, let alone served time within its walls. Situated within a growing movement of convict criminology, this article provides a first-hand account of the abuse convicts often experience in the home, the streets, and later in prison. Breaking from the traditional scholarly format, this autobiographical article not only highlights the importance of a convict’s voice, but also calls on criminologists to move beyond official data sources and crime reports to a more in-depth exploration of complex lives of the incarcerated and formerly incarcerated.

“M” – Message from the Inside #2

December 10, 2010 § Leave a comment


You will find that the plight of many, such as me, are not looked upon with great empathy.  You remeber me telling you about my brother-in-law—he is very connected in the Washington arena—and he has been very frank—“Joe six-pack” does not give a damn about us—and he will not give  a damn until he realizes that this is costing him—out of pocket–long-term, as most leave prison broke and without any resources—one reason what I wrote you about is such an important deal–as it can be used to bring forth to the public—the needs and what can be accomplished.
I should be medically cleared to go back to a level 2 within a week or so—then I am hoping to get back to the camp soon.  Let me know when you get the letter—please be
careful as to responses–as I do not want anyone to get the wrong idea.

Let me know–love, M

Links are RELATIONSHIPS – The Power of the Link

December 8, 2010 § 3 Comments

How a request for a link removal opened me up to the power of this medium I am using.

Here’s how it all started:  Remove my link…

Now what I am learning…

The MUSTS to take away from The Power of the Link :

Outgoing Links

  • are my referrals to my readers
  • are saying I like this a lot, you may too!
  • are encouraging people leave my site to read something else

Incoming Links – who is referring me

  • provide content good enough that readers will want to refer you!

Intrasite Links

  • me sharing more of my content – connecting the dots for readers – provide background for complete information.
  • allow search engines to crawl deeper into my site

Blog Rolls & Link Lists

  • are permanent referrals by me – must be trustworthy!


  • connect my posts to my readers and their audiences – a show of trust!

We All Like to Reblog

December 8, 2010 § Leave a comment

We All Like to Reblog.

Link Etiquette

December 7, 2010 § 4 Comments

I had no idea!

This is my first blog and I had absolutely no idea that there was a process for linking to websites!  I know it’s funny, but I was horrified to know that I had transgressed in some way towards an organization I admired.  So, full of guilt,  I went on a search spree to find out what the correct way to link was.

Needless to say, opinions differ greatly.  I’m assuming there could be more concern about my blog because I have a very particular goal I am working towards.  Organization affiliation could be presumed with that goal could be, well, presumed – and I guess detrimental in some way.  Maybe when NPJP becomes a real entity, not just an idea…

It’s interesting that this happened, because just yesterday I contacted a professor at GWU and I referred to myself as the “lil ‘ole undergraduate with a great idea.”  He promptly contacted me back expressing an understanding and agreed to helping me come up with a list of benefits in a more academic vernacular.  Somewhere, my “status” may actually play a part in this journey.  Hopefully not, but…

Anyway, here is what I found on the linking:

ProBlogger – The Etiquette of Linking

Essentially, give credit where it’s due – in full.  Make sure it’s clearly recognizable that the content is not originally yours.

Lorelle – You Do Not Need Permission to Link

Really focused on what I have here – a blog.  I’m guessing there is a difference between a website and a blog?  The fine line, which I’m guessing comes from perception, is what Lorelle discusses below:

” Should you ask permission to link to someone on your blogroll or otherwise? Maybe. It depends upon what you are going to do with that link. Blogroll links are recommendations, encouraging visitors to follow the sites you recommend. If they don’t want your recommendation, you probably don’t want them on your list.

However, if you are using a link to their blog or website in a way that makes you money, takes money away from them, or exploits their site for your own benefit, then I recommend you get permission as the perspective on the outgoing link has changed.”

I am so confused!

THANK YOU – insidetime newspaper!

December 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

I have been lax in thanking Mr. John Roberts – Operations Director at InsideTime the National Newspaper for Prisoners in the United Kingdom.

The existence of InsideTime made me believe that this project could really happen and Mr. Roberts has been a great support.  Honestly, I was surprised when he answered that first email to him – it was so long and disjointed.  Excitement can do that to a message.  But…he listened and pledged his support with guidance and information. I cannot ask for anything more!

They recently celebrated their 20th anniversary of providing invaluable information to the prison community and to others.  I can’t wait for NPJP to be in the same position.

A foreshadow of what’s to come….

InsideTime November 2010

National Prison Journal Project (NPJP) is born!

December 2, 2010 § Leave a comment

National Prison Journal Project (NPJP) was born December 1, 2010, in the pages of the yellow and black marbled composition book I now carry with me everywhere.  That was the first day all of my mental traffic converged into a single, comprehensible, achievable idea.

On December 2, 2010, I entered the blogosphere without the hesitation I held for quite a while.  Why?  Because I had a reason, other than my own musings, to do it.

That same day I took action.  Perhaps the hardest part of anything.  Going from the walk of thought, to the jog of writing, to beginning the marathon of  action and realizing a goal.

So here we are.  NPJP and myself.

Currently, we are two separate entities.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing the Daily Doings category at My National Prison Journal Project.

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