Doing Time on the Outside by Donald Braman

December 7, 2010 § Leave a comment

For the Family section of the journal I have contacted Prof. Donald Braman of George Washington University Law School.  His book Doing Time on the Outside: Incarceration and Family Life in Urban America will hopefully be a starting point for the type of stories for the Family section.  (I’m trying to think of another name.)

As with Prof. Henry Jenkins, I have asked for permission to reprint/excerpt his book and other writings.  These requests surround the draft copy I am pulling together along with the first edition, after which a tremendous response is expected and an equally tremendous amount of material. I anticipate the “outside” audience to be a little slower in coming to the fold, which is why these ubiquitous accounts, already in print, are so valuable.

From Amazon.com: 

In the tradition of the best-selling ethnographies No Shame in My Game by Katherine Newman and Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier, Doing Time on the Outside tells the other side of the incarceration saga: the little-told story of the effects of imprisonment on the families of the prisoners.
Since 1970 the incarceration rate in the U.S. has more than tripled, and in many cities — urban centers such as Washington, D.C. — it has increased over five-fold. Today, one out of every ten adult black men in the District is in prison. This has caused a deep rupture in the lives of the prisoners and their families.
Author Donald Braman shows that doing time on the inside has a ripple effect on the outside — one that reaches far beyond the individual prisoner and deep into the family itself. Braman offers wrenching personal stories of the ordeals families face when one of their members is imprisoned. Citing major examples such as lost income and delayed parenting opportunities, he also uncovers seemingly innocuous details that nevertheless have a cumulatively adverse effect; for example, the onerously large phone bills that often result when a family member goes to prison.
This ground-breaking ethnography of modern urban America reveals a genuinely new argument: how misguided the commonly accepted ideas about supposed pride in prison time really are. Moreover, Braman brings to light the darker side of a system that is failing not only its criminals, but their families, too. Finally, the author argues that prisoners themselves must take more responsibility for their lives, as well as for their families.

Section: Reconciliation

December 6, 2010 § Leave a comment

A section where victims could have a voice was always part of the vision.  This section will be call Reconciliation and it will feature letters, poems, essay and other writings from victims.

The opportunity to name the offender will be explored.  I’m sure there are legalities.  Maybe equally as important is that offenders HEAR stories from victims.   Accountability is a great soil for responsibility and change to grow in.

Shall the section have a static byline or a changing one?  Both?  One can be ever present, always explaining the value of the reconciliation section and another can be featured and changed per issue to be pondered and applied by readers.  I like the latter. You?

When reading over the information on VORP (Victim Offender Reconciliation Program), my main thoughts surround how these ideas can be converted into print and maybe even better served in some ways.  BTW, save the religious aspect, this program is a phenomenal idea.

Topic for another post:  the rampant presence of religious assistance in the penal system – narcissistic or beneficial.

The RECONCILIATION Section – Some Brainstorming

RECONCILIATION  in print form provides the opportunity to:

  • The participatory acts of reading and writing are completely consensual and voluntary expressions that can be revisited and completed in whatever time necessary.
  • Ask questions which may have arisen out of the offense AND receive a response from a wide variety of offenders involved in the same or similar activity.
  • Express feelings and opinions about the offense directly to the offender AND many other offenders – providing them with constructive, restorative information.
  • Take responsibility for actions and involvement in the offense AND express sentiments that were not fully disclosed during judicial process or that have come about during incarceration.
  • Move on to a better emotional state after the offense by restoring both victim and offender dignity.

Where Am I?

You are currently browsing entries tagged with offenders at My National Prison Journal Project.

%d bloggers like this: