This book, along with writing letters to an inmate in one of my state’s prisons, were the catalysts for my involvement in prison reform. It’s an “easy” yet difficult and essential read. It tells the extraordinary story of a professor who teaches a Shakespeare course to inmates living in solitary confinement at an Indiana prison, and the friendship that blossoms between her and one inmate, in particular. Having read that Indiana revoked funding for correctional education in 2010, I wrote the following letter to Indiana’s governor, Mike Pence:
June 27, 2013
In the midst of reading the inspiring work of Dr. Laura Bates in her book, Shakespeare Saved My Life: Ten Years in Solitary with the Bard, I learn that Indiana revoked funding for correctional education in 2010. That correctional education greatly benefits the incarcerated and the citizens who will be living with them when they are released, and yet is abolished disappoints me. Austerity in the form of cutting social welfare programs is one the worst things governments at any level can do to improve the economy.
I respectfully urge you and your state legislators to reconsider and reinstate funding for correctional education, as well as read the above mentioned book to cast away any doubts as to its efficacy in producing positive changes in prisoners serving time in your correctional facilities.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Again, it’s something. Imagine if we all did something that mattered to us a great deal. Every day. Big or small. What a different world this would be.