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Two weeks ago I penned an article about the banning of books in Texas prisons. Attached to the article was a petition to Brad Livingston, Director of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice.

If you are opposed to politically motivated censorship, I urge you to sign the petition. Let me remind you that the book was about the conditions of women in American prisons and it was banned for describing the abuses two females had suffered early in life; abuses that had shaped self-destructive behaviour and consequent incarceration. The descriptions were not graphic. The descriptions were essential for discussion of cycles of violence, perpetrators and victims, and hopes for help instead of punishment.

If you need convincing that petition’s have an effect, I point to’s previous direct action that caused the Virginia Department of Corrections to overturn their ban on the Virginia Books Behind Bars program.

Signing the petition does mean making a profile at Profiles are often a barrier to action but I ask that you put on your hurdling shoes in this instance.

Thanks, Pete

UPDATE: ALL PETITIONS is so confident of the power of petitions they have set up a platform to deliver the petition tools of national non-profits to the hands of individuals.

“Our bloggers have recently begun using this tool to start petitions in response to news stories and have won close to a dozen campaigns – successfully pressuring companies and federal agencies to change their policies.”


Prisoners All posits that we are all severely impeded, individually and as a community, because of bad politics, poor policy and family devaluation. The posts are really well composed.

The anonymous author – by the pseudonym of Zebulon Brockway – has “worked many years in [California] prisons, and worked many years in journalism” and believes “much written about prisons is misleading at best and wrong at worst. The false impressions and false information are not helpful to public discourse”.

Moving Images

John Malsbary contacted me at the start of the Summer to tell me of his new venture Prison in Cinema.

John’s moving across a country at the moment. His few posts suggest he’ll be worth watching. John brought to my attention the film The Jericho Mile made on location at Folsom State Prison in 1979. Anthony Friedkin photographed Folsom convict portraits twelve years later.  Mann’s directing and Friedkin’s shooting share in visual dialogue.

Four Convicts, Folsom Prison, CA. Anthony Friedkin. 1991. Silver Print. 16 x 20 inches.

Four Convicts, Folsom Prison, CA. Anthony Friedkin. 1991. Silver Print. 16 x 20 inches.


Governing through Crime; WA State Library; Grits and Bid’ness in Texas; and Ben Gunn (Serving prisoner) and John Hirst (Released) in the UK.

Followed LEAP’s twittering and other ones …


The Dallas News reported the ‘Circumstances, Evidence, Problems and Outcome’ of five cases of arson in Texas under re-examination. That includes the Cameron Todd Willingham case. (via The StandDown Project)

‘A Paperclip and a CD’

Matt Kelley at had a well reasoned rallying call for support of prison book programs. Take Action.

Edmund Clark

A favourite of mine. Since recommended by Nathalie Belayche. Colin Pantall (recently back from a summer blogatical) and LensCulture showing Clark‘s new prison series, ‘If the Light Goes Out: Home from Guantanamo’.

Naval Base Cemetery by Edmund Clark

Naval Base Cemetery by Edmund Clark

Naval Base Cemetery (above) is not typical of the project. It is outside. ‘Home from Guantanamo’ uses the same detailed look at everyday institutional and domestic objects in their place. I don’t think it is as successful as ‘Still Life: Killing Time’, as I don’t think this approach lended itself as well to the War About Terrorism as it did to the Geriatric E-Wing of Kingston Prison, Portsmouth. ‘Killing Time’ is best viewed as a slideshow with Erwin James’ commentary.

Reciprocity Success

And finally, thanks to Stan for his coordinations and libations. Stan recommends Courthouse Confessions, as do I.


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