ABOUT THIS BOOK
Winner, Coalition for Community Writing Outstanding Book Award 2019
Doing Time, Writing Lives offers a much-needed analysis of the teaching of college writing in U.S. prisons, a racialized space that—despite housing more than 2 million people—remains nearly invisible to the general public. Through the examination of a college-in-prison program that promotes the belief that higher education in prison can reduce recidivism and improve life prospects for the incarcerated and their families, author Patrick W. Berry exposes not only incarcerated students’ hopes and dreams for their futures but also their anxieties about whether education will help them.
Combining case studies and interviews with the author’s own personal experience of teaching writing in prison, this book chronicles the attempts of incarcerated students to write themselves back into a society that has erased their lived histories. It challenges polarizing rhetoric often used to describe what literacy can and cannot deliver, suggesting more nuanced and ethical ways of understanding literacy and possibility in an age of mass incarceration.