In summer 2020, I witnessed the eerie formation of a narrative: the sensationalized focus on the police officer that little matched the masses’ sentiments regarding prisons. There was lots of “ACAB!” and little “Prisons are obsolete.”
In conjunction with the release of "Fire in the Lake," the third annual volume of creative writing from NYU's Prison Education Program, the editors answer questions from NYU Gallatin students.
Not only does solitary confinement fail to achieve the stated goals of the practice, but many of the effects of isolating prisoners are counterproductive to addressing or preventing dangerous behavior.
“Ayo, Big Tree. What’s on the menu for tonight?” one onlooker asks. “Just some fish and macaroni with cheese,” Big Tree replies. “Nothing special.” The onlooker’s face is full of skepticism. Everybody knows that everything Big Tree cooks tastes special.
"There was no chisel involved, no rope of bedsheets. But with the help of a willing accomplice, I found a way out."