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Prisons : inside the big house by Andy…

Prisons : inside the big house

by Andy Hjelmeland

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People that have never been to prison or have never had somebody close to them in prison often have no actual conception of what it is like. The cover is not particularly interesting, although the prison cell bars certainly hold a powerful image in the mind of a former inmate. I do like the quote on the back cover though, "'You don't know what it's like to do time until you've eaten from a tin plate.' a Massachusetts convict said. 'Eating from a tin plate symbolizes the most common sound heard inside a maximum-security prison - the clang of metal."
Andy Hjelmeland is definitely a reputable source of information with his extensive jail-time. The only people that could ever capture what it felt like to be in jail are those who actually spent time there. The photographs throughout the book also help to bring alive this subject in a way that simple illustrations or just words ever could. We see jail set-ups on tv, but photographs of the real thing speak volumes. I especially appreciate the photograph on page 46 of the shared cell. I thought I was cramped in my freshman dorm, but there are two people sharing the size of my closet. I also see a lot of personalization that I didn't expect they would allow in a prison. The wall is covered with photographs, a small tv in the back wall, and what even looks like a computer. While I would be hard-pressed to fit this into my crowded biology curriculum, I would definitely recommend high school students to read this and hopefully de-glorify the jail scene hyped up in popular songs. ( )
  ehwall | May 10, 2017 |
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Examines the state and federal prison systems, what prison life is like in various types of institutions, prison violence, women in prison, and alternatives to prison.

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