Prison Reforms Are Good For America

The recent comment from a reader identified as ssteacherme in response to my article expresses the cynicism I’ve come to expect from those who adamantly support America’s prison system. In the end, the writer asserted that “Those who spin their prison punishment into success empires cloak themselves in hero’s clothing made from the fabric […]

Expanding The Broken Glass Theory for Prison Reform

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference , the author wrote about The Broken Glass Theory. I had read about the study before, as many law-and-order types extolled its merits. The Broken Glass Theory held that when society allowed the most trivial offenses to go unpunished, more […]

How To Reduce Violence in Prison

Prisons become violent atmospheres as hope is diminished. When administrators implement policies that decimate an individual’s opportunities to distinguish himself in positive ways, the prisoner feels as if reasons do not exist to even attempt to reform. Instead, he focuses on improving his life within the chaotic boundaries of the penitentiary. Those efforts frequently lead […]

Does Anyone In Prison Respect Nonviolent, Goal-oriented Prisoners?

My focus has never been on earning respect in prison. I strive to prepare for the life I want to lead upon release, and I do not allow anything to interfere with my progress. In books I’ve written about prison, and articles published at, I’ve described how a different set of values pervades higher […]

Extortion Targets in Prison

I received a letter from a reader who asked whether other prisoners had ever extorted me in prison. The answer is no, I have never succumbed to extortion. That does not mean prisoners have not tried. I spent the first 16 years of my sentence inside higher security prisons. When I was locked inside the […]

Prison culture encourages prison rape

In higher security prisons, where prisoners serve lengthy sentences and have histories of violence, prison inmates pursue power on a primal level. Criminals that are more sophisticated may have political skills, though many equate power with instilling fear in other men. Some predators rape weaker inmates in an effort to create illusions or reputations of […]

Inappropriate Sexual Relationships in Prison

A criminal justice student who had read my book Inside:Life Behind Bars in America, asked me how often sexual contact occurred between officers and prisoners. She wanted to know how such behavior could escape notice from other authorities inside prisons. An Internet search on the subject would yield disturbing results. Around the same time that […]

Why Can’t Guards Stop Prison Rape?

In my book, Inside:Life Behind Bars in America, one of the chapters describes a gruesome rape scene. The scene took place in a high-security penitentiary. Two wily and hardened convicts lured two new prisoners who were weak into a false sense of security. The group of four prisoners snorted meth and drank pruno together. Then, […]