Over the weekend I had an assignment to transcribe one of the non-fiction writings from a currently incarcerated American.
AKA, read a journal entry written by someone in prison.
I've seen movies about people in jail, I've heard about it from people who had a short stint behind bars, I've read about it, and I've seen it on the news. What I've never done is be eyewitness to the personal thoughts of a person sentenced to solitary confinement for 55 years. Forget the transcribing part, reading this story was very interesting. It really humanizes the prisoner and made me sympathize with him. The crime committed definitely to me didn't seem like it was fitting for 55 whole years, essentially a lifetime, but the details also were not delved into. That said, because it was not as heinous of a crime, such as sexual assault or murder, the journal was a lot easier to read and sympathize with.
Reading this one journal entry by a prisoner made me wish there was a collecting of letters, a whole diary if you will, so that I could track the thinkings of this prisoner and maybe see changes in the way he thinks or acts. I also wonder if that would be meditative for the prisoners and give them a sense of higher being, as if they are preserving their voice on paper since the world outside the bars will never hear it. It also inspires me to write down my thoughts more for someone to later read, as I think that does heighten your impression on the world and give you a stronger sense of identity. (Maybe that's what writing these blogs so often will also help)