Author, Expert & Speaker

prison

Courts routinely appoint a guardian ad litem (GAL) for children whose best interests are to be determined by a court of law. The Latin term ad litem means for the lawsuit. When a child is caught in a highly contentious custody dispute, the courts can appoint an independent attorney or mental health professional to represent the best interests of the child.… Read the rest

The curtain rises for Act 2. As discussed in Act 1, Greenlighting: Jailhouse Snitches, the term greenlighting comes from a lawsuit filed in the Orange County (California) superior court on April 4, 2018, against the Orange County district attorney and the sheriff. The lawsuit does not ask for money; it asks the court to overhaul the Orange County justice system, which is allegedly “in disrepair and disrepute.” See P.E.O.P.L.E.Read the rest

Blogs come alive through social media. What I post to my Twitter account transcends my laptop to reach people and organizations working for prison reform. There’s a family with like concerns out there, and they supply impactful tweets and substantive information. When I check out my followers on Twitter, I see the enormous investment that others are putting into myriad prison reform issues.… 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

In prison, books are friends. They’re virtual tickets out of the prison yard and into worlds of escape. Science tells us that reading benefits our brain function and emotions.

Prison administrators should understand science-based findings that reading is good for people. In her article “8 Science-Backed Reasons to Read a (Real) Book,” Abigail Wise gives four reasons that are particularly relevant to inmate readers:

  • It [reading] increases intelligence
  • It can boost your brain power
  • Reading can make you more empathic
  • Reading can help you relax

In my blog, Prison Is a Good Place to Catch Up on Your Reading, I argue that the boredom inherent in doing time and the resultant numbing of the mind caused by the never-changing, predictable daily routine of life has an antidote in the reading of books.… Read the rest

Skin Deep: Looking Beyond the Tattoos is a book you absorb through your eyes and into your heart. This 176-page coffee table book is a thoughtful catalog of stunning photographs of formerly incarcerated people and their self-disclosures about their tattoos. Twenty-seven people are presented in two striking visuals: heavily tattooed and digitally retouched without their prison ink.… Read the rest

I learned about wants and needs in an economics class. Food, clothing, and shelter are needs; everything else is a want. Many wants are based on an emotional viewpoint, whereas most needs come from the realm of survival. Having a job is a want—a job is a want that fulfills basic survival needs.… Read the rest

We’re all going to die. We’re not all going to prison. Is there a connection between the popularity of prison-themed programming and our fear of dying? Put another way, why are movies and television programs about prison so popular to people who will never see the inside of a jail or prison?… Read the rest

A lot of time in prison is spent thinking about getting out; it’s natural. For any trapped animal, escaping captivity is instinctive and deeply wired. Being held captive is traumatic for wild animals. A March 6, 2017, Time magazine article entitled “The Future of Zoos,” reveals that “new discoveries about the environment of animals are raising difficult questions about keeping wild things in captivity.” The author, Justin Worland, writes that “study after study has shown that many animal species are far smarter and more feeling than previously understood, giving new insights into how many suffer from anxiety and depression when they are removed from nature.”

For humans, being locked up insults the regular cadence of life psychologically at every level.… Read the rest

I never really learned about crimes and the criminal mind until my time in prison. I studied criminal law in law school in an intellectually sterile context. Law students learn the elements that constitute criminal conduct from textbooks and lectures. Using the Socratic method of questions and answers, students learn the puzzle pieces that constitute jurisprudence.… Read the rest

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