America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s

By Lee Bernstein | Go to book overview

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This book shows, among other things, that without the participants, volunteers, and employees of prison arts and education programs, the cultural life of prisons would be far bleaker. Many people and organizations doing this work today generously opened their programs, institutions, and ideas to me during the period I worked on this book, including incarcerated people and correctional staff at the Manhattan Detention Complex (“The Tombs”), San Quentin Correctional Facility, Eastern Correctional Facility in Napanoch, New York, and Shawangunk Correctional Facility in Wallkill, New York. Several people kindly hosted my visits, including Tom McCarthy of the New York Correction History Society; Aïda de Arteaga, director of Arts-inCorrections at San Quentin; Laurie Brooks of the William James Association in Santa Cruz, California; and Max Kenner of the Bard Prison Initiative at New York’s Eastern Correctional Facility. I also want to acknowledge the impact of the PEN American Center’s Prison Writing Committee on my developing sense of the history and politics of prison cultural work; I especially wish to thank Bell Gale Chevigny, Jackson Taylor, Claudia Menza, and Sarah White. All went far beyond what I could have reasonably expected in including me in their efforts and sharing their experience and thoughts with me. My work with Susan Blase, head librarian at New York’s Shawangunk Correctional Facility; Karanja Keita Carroll of the State University of New York at New Paltz; and John Vanderlippe of the New School for Social Research to connect college professors with prisoners is a source of great satisfaction and inspiration.

For research assistance on Jack Henry Abbott, many thanks go to Charlotta Äsell. Her own research on programming at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility provided a wonderful model of engaged scholarship. The Susan Turner Research Fund at Vassar College funded Charlotta’s efforts. Brian Lehrer provided helpful research assistance on

-ix-

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America Is the Prison: Arts and Politics in Prison in the 1970s
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Illustrations viii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Introduction 1
  • Chapter One - We Shall Have Order 19
  • Chapter Two - The Age of Jackson 51
  • Chapter Three - What Works? 75
  • Chapter Four - We Took the Weight 99
  • Chapter Five - Cell Block Theater 129
  • Chapter Six - Radical Chic 151
  • Conclusion 173
  • Notes 185
  • Index 215
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