From Publishers Weekly
As a boy, Williams heard the older kids who'd served time tell stories that made prison
sound glamorous and fun, a place to hang out with your friends and prove how tough you were.
But now, after 16 years on San Quentin's death row for the murders of four people, Williams
(Gangs and Violence), co-founder of the notorious Los Angeles Crips gang, knows that
prison "is no place you'd ever want to be." In this slender volume, he explains why:
the cramped quarters, lack of freedom and privacy, homesickness, violence and daily
indignities (strip searches, having to use the toilet in public). Williams often goes
beyond mere description, asking readers to imagine or emulate his experiences
("To get a feel for what it's like to live in a prison cell, test yourself. Spend
ten hours, nonstop and alone in your bathroom"), an effective technique. Though the
book's stated goal is to warn kids away from Williams's path, its matter-of-fact,
often homogenized tone connotes more of a plea for sympathy than a caution intended
to frighten kids. Co-author Becnel's foreword contributes to this problem, although
the stark black-and-white photographs of Williams, San Quentin and other prisons and
prisoners toughens the tone to some degree. Those concerned that purchasing the book
will profit a convicted killer can be reassured: Williams's royalties will be donated
to the Institute for the Prevention of Youth Violence. Ages 8-up.
1998, 8 x 6, 80 pp., soft cover.
Price: $ 18.95
Convicts don't live in prisons -- they survive them. Harold S. Long
has written a disturbing and deeply moving account of prison life. Long has been
behind bars for over ten years. He describes how prisons are run: the penal code
and the cellblock code. He takes you out to the yard and into the hole. He explains
the complete failure of most "rehabilitation" programs. And he reveals what it is
like to survive the isolation, humiliation, and brutality of prison life.
- Power Structures
- The Prison Experience: Day One to Day Ninety
- Isolation and Segregation Units
- Programs and Recreation
- The Internal Litigation Process
- Interpersonal Aspects of Prison Life
- Our Present, Our Future
- And More.
Surviving in Prison is much more than the story of how prisons work and where
they fail. It is the true account of one man's struggle to preserve some shred
of dignity that he can use to build a new life... if only he can survive.
1990, 8½ x 11, 128 pp., soft cover.
Price: $ 17.95