Author, Expert & Speaker

mental health

As I write this post, a seventeen-day prison strike is going on in this country. The coordinated actions started on August 21, 2018, and will end on September 9, 2018. The strike brings to the forefront prison reform issues that I, and countless other supporters of change, have been bringing to the attention of the general public and public servants about the pernicious grind of mass incarceration.… Read the rest

Crusading for change includes knowing when real change happens. Some states are making more progress than others in their efforts for prison reform. According to the New Republic, “One could reasonably argue that Georgia is doing more to reform its criminal justice system than any other state in the country—from sentencing to felon employment after release to juvenile detention.” The thrust of Georgia’s reform movement begins before sentencing occurs and extends to when an inmate reenters society.… Read the rest

Inmates have their own justice system; I learned this on the inside. Every prison yard has its own code of conduct, and the code is controlled entirely by inmates. Of course, prison administrators operate under state or federal codes designed to contain an overflow of omnipresent hostility. Under such circumstances, forceful confinement creates a precarious environment.… Read the rest

I’m not a trained mental health professional, but that doesn’t disqualify me from knowing when someone isn’t quite right. Most people have an awareness of when, as it’s colloquially put, a person is half a bubble off center. Prisons are magnets for the mentally challenged and have become mental health sanctuaries.… Read the rest

I’m not a military veteran. I did a year of ROTC at Ohio State in the late 1960s. During those tumultuous times, when the draft was alive and looming, campus unrest was a constant. In my naiveté, I figured I’d enroll in ROTC to become a military officer. I wasn’t thinking clearly on the subject in those days.… Read the rest

Prisons have become mental health asylums. The data is overwhelming. While researching my last post about Dorothea Dix, an early advocate for mentally ill prisoners, I learned more about the how mentally ill persons are treated in prison populations. I also became aware of parameters that proscribe the legal rights of mentally ill inmates.… Read the rest

It’s easy to lose your mind in prison. The insane world of forced routine accentuated by culture clashes, boredom, and the loss of personal freedoms can cause people to question their sanity. In February 2005, I wrote a quote from John Steinbeck’s Cannery Row in my personal journal. Sitting on my bunk on a cold and dark winter day, I was looking for a way to express my depressed mood.… Read the rest

There Are Crazy People in PrisonI was self-introduced to the emperor of Norway while waiting for chow at the California Institution for Men (CIM). CIM is a state prison in Chino, California. At the time, I didn’t know Norway had an emperor. The monarch and I were sitting at a stainless steel chow table when I was so informed.… Read the rest

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