Prisoner Express runs a Journaling Project in which inmates regularly send in reflections on their life and prison experience. It gives both them a chance to reflect as well as the public to understand more clearly the life of a prisoner and the situation they face. The prisoners, who have a difficult time connecting with outside society, are given a voice through the program and allowed their chance to speak their piece.
While we have many prisoners writing in to the program, our ability to get their writing typed and online is dependent on volunteers. Due to this, only some of the writers are included in the online program. Their voices, then, speak for all those in their situation, those both heard and unheard.
The journal project serves two main functions. Those in prison are often invisible to society. The Journal Project seeks to normalize those in prison, so that the stigma of criminality can be fought with the public realization of our common humanity. It will also seek to expose the realities of the prison and the need for change. Hopefully, this combination of humanity and exposure will evoke empathy as well as dismay in the reader. Even the slightest amount of compassionate consternation will cause the a difference in social understanding of prison. By bringing the prison to the public agenda, some long-delayed scrutiny of the correctional system can begin.
The prisoner express program, sponsored by the Durland Alternatives Library, promotes rehabilitation by offering inmates information, education and the opportunity for creative self-expression in a public forum. Participation in this program fosters self-exploration, enrichment and knowledge. The Durland Alternatives Library has a number of ongoing programs as parts of its Prisoners Express project.
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