Academic journal article et Cetera

Inside Rikers: Stories from the World's Largest Penal Colony

Academic journal article et Cetera

Inside Rikers: Stories from the World's Largest Penal Colony

Article excerpt

Jennifer Wynn. Inside Rikers: Stories from the World's Largest Penal Colony. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2001.

Rikers Island, just six miles from the Empire State Building, is one of the most complex and expensive penal institutions in the world, yet most New Yorkers couldn't find it on a map. In her book Jennifer Wynn, a journalist who teaches writing classes to inmates in a unique rehabilitation program known as Fresh Start, provides some valuable direction for understanding the psychological and social topography of this unique urban "mini-city" (18,000 inmates are housed at Rikers).

Wynn takes us into Rikers Island, and back out, to the communities where her students were born and raised. She chronicles their struggles to "go straight" and find respect in a city that fears and rejects them. Her stories of ex-cons who have transformed their lives offer hope to a crimeweary public and to former prisoners in search of second chances.

Inside Rikers offers more than just an upbeat mentor's perspective of her jailhouse students. …

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