I have to admit, the portion of the book's title, When Prison Is Your Life, initially caught my attention. I often feel as though prison IS my life, even though I've never actually been incarcerated. I'm fairly certain I am not the only family member to feel this way at times. Going on this journey with a loved one can have that affect on an individual, but we'll talk more about that another time.
The reality is, I will never truly know what my loved one is going through on a daily basis throughout his incarceration, but Lauren's book provides a great deal of perspective and insight into the lives of those serving lengthy prison sentences. Much of the book includes excerpts from essays written by members of the Oregon State Penitentiary's writers group. This particular group of individuals is comprised mainly of lifers. I found that many of the thoughts shared by these men were very similar if not spot on to those expressed by my husband in discussions we have shared over the years. They also shared more intimate sides of incarceration I had not previously understood.
Most importantly, I love that this book does an excellent job of humanizing people often dehumanized and dare I say demonized within our society.
If we are ever to succeed in changing the narrative about those caught up in the penal system, it will be in large part due to the efforts of individuals like Lauren Kessler and the members of the OSP writers group!