We used to run writers’ weekends in prison. Fifteen outside writers would come into the prison all day Saturday and most of Sunday. We would meet with about the same number of inside writers. The focus was on writing, not on prison, but of course, that subject came up. We ate with the men, even stood there with them while they were “counted.”
Everybody who ever attended one of these weekends thought they were great. Outsiders left with a whole new idea of what and who a convict was. Insiders felt that for those two days they were not in prison – they were meeting with other writers and working on the craft of writing. They made friends with those on the outside and they learned that many people in the community were willing to give them a chance.
For two short days we broke the terrible “us and them”…
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