What Solitary Confinement Does to the Brain

What Solitary Confinement Does to the Brain.

This article is necessary for librarians, educators, cases workers, and officers to read as we discuss the best services for those incarcerated, especially those in solitary confinement (often called segregation).

While at the book club I facilitate inside of a prison, some of the men stated that it was only in segregation did they read certain books, especially book series where you could spend an longer time with a set of characters and an on going plot.

We must prepare those incarcerated for being released with the skills we need. We must also meet the immediate needs of incarcerated patrons. As librarians we must provide the best services to our patrons that cannot physically come into the library. Patrons in segregation cannot be the exception.

When prisoners leave solitary confinement and re-enter society — something that often happens with no transition period — their symptoms might abate, but they’re unable to adjust. “I’ve called this the decimation of life skills,” said Kupers. “It destroys one’s capacity to relate socially, to work, to play, to hold a job or enjoy life.”…

Explaining why isolation is so damaging is complicated, but can be distilled to basic human needs for social interaction and sensory stimulation, along with a lack of the social reinforcement that prevents everyday concerns from snowballing into pychoses, said Kupers.

Shakespeare in Prisons Conference, Nov. 15-16, 2013

Razor Wire Women

Shakespeare at Notre Dame is pleased to announce the Shakespeare in Prisons Conference hosted by the University of Notre Dame on Friday, November 15, and Saturday, November 16, 2013.

Featuring keynote addresses and film screenings by Curt Tofteland (founding director of Shakespeare Behind Bars) and Tom Magill (founder of the Educational Shakespeare Center and director of the Irish film Mickey B ), the conference aims to bring together artists and educators engaged in transformational arts programs using Shakespeare in prisons across the USA (and the world) for an exploration and study of the effects such programming has on prison populations. The goal is to promote a collaborative learning forum where participants will be exposed to a diverse array of programs that all strive for a common result: the habilitation of the inmate’s mind, heart, body, and spirit.

Departing from the traditional academic conference structure, the Shakespeare in Prisons conference will focus on the craft and experiences of the…

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Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, Vol. 5

Razor Wire Women



Every year for the last five years students at the University of Michigan’s Prison Creative Arts Project (PCAP) have volunteered to undertake the incredibly unwieldy task of soliciting, receiving, reviewing, and responding to creative writing submissions from hundreds of prisoners throughout the state of Michigan.  Every single person who submits writing receives personalized feedback on his or her work; PCAP sends no form rejection letters.  The result is a remarkable collection of writing called the Michigan Review of Prisoner Creative Writing, published annually in conjunction with the PCAP Annual Exhibition of Art by Michigan Prisoners.  This year’s review is a particularly good one, and I highly recommend it to those of you might be looking for prisoner writing to teach in your courses next year and to those of you who just want something great to read.

To order this year’s review or one from a previous…

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Coming Soon: YA Underground | School Library Journal

Coming Soon: YA Underground | School Library Journal.

Starting January 16, Amy Cheney, who works with incarcerated kids at Alameda County (CA) Library’s Juvenile Hall, will be writing a new column for SLJTeen. The column, “YA Underground: Teen Books You Might Have Missed,” will run every other month and feature titles that are of interest to teens—particularly those who have grown up in poverty or are now incarcerated. Because juvenile detention facilities, like Amy’s, don’t typically allow kids to read “street lit,” she’s always on the lookout for books that will pique their interest, and many of these titles are perfect for your public library’s young adult section. So get ready for some great reads: fiction, nonfiction, adult books for teens, and graphic novels—they’ll all be highlighted in YA Underground! Put the January 16 issue of SLJTeen on your must-read list.

Click on the link above to follow to the article & to subscribe to SLJTeeen!

In or Out of Prison, Iranian Doctors Find Way to Help

In or Out of Prison, Iranian Doctors Find Way to Help.

The above link is from an article published by the AIDS Foundation of Chicago.

Here is an excerpt from their article:

Freedom of the Mind

Rather than despair at their unfortunate circumstances, Kamiar and Arash got right to work. They began educating prisoners on health and hygiene practices, created a smoking cessation program, led an exercise program that eventually included 500 prisoners and encouraged prisoners to take advantage of the prison’s clinic.

“We found that many prisoners had made a prison of their own minds,” Kamiar said. “We had to help them break out of that, and encourage them to be involved in their own lives.”

To that end, they began a “Prisoner of the Week” tradition, recognizing prisoners who were making positive improvements. They prompted prisoners to teach each other languages, such as English, French and Arabic. Kamiar said he picked up Spanish by participating in these language lessons. They used their allocated phone minutes to contact publishers and grew the prison’s library by 5,000 books. The brothers encouraged the artists among them to pain murals on the prison walls.