Couldn't Keep it to Myself: Testemonies from our imprisoned sisters

Harper Collins Publishers Inc, 2003

Prison: York Correction Institution, Connecticut (Map)

This is a collection of writing compiled by Wally Lamb who has spent several years teaching writing to women prisoners in York Correctional Institute. In this collection lies the descriptions of each woman's paths into and out from imprisonment ranging from abuse, rejection to their own self-destructive impulses,illustrating a process which begins long before an official entrance into the criminal justice system. Like many other prison narratives, writing is used as a method to begin healing, an effort to move away from the opacity of the cell, into a potential creative transparency. It is an effort, as Brian Keenan says, at inversion, to 'imprison' the insanity of such an existence, onto paper instead (Keenan; An Evil Cradling, xiv).

Nine of the eleven prisoners in this collection wrote their pieces while incarcerated.

The maximum sentence was used as an example for the index: Bonnie Foreshore; b. 1947; Homicide; 45 years without parole; entered prison in 1986; story "Faith, Power and Pants"

Various accusations and sentence lengths: Conspiracy to commit credit card fraud (27 months); larceny by embezzlement (5 years); assault in the first degree (7 years); drug trafficking (7 years); homicide (25/45 years without parole); manslaughter due to emotional duress (20/25 years)

The 'son of sam' law is passed to enable victims of the person who has committed a crime (and has written about it directly) to access the profits 'made from that crime'. As such the content of each story is not a direct reference to the particulars of each crime.

< shorter time in prison longer >