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Author of AGAINST A DARKENING SKY, THE EMPTY ROOM, OUR DAILY BREAD, and others. Find out more at www.LaurenBDavis.com. I read as if my sanity depended upon it.. . . oh, wait, it does! Snort.

Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer

Crossing the Yard: Thirty Years as a Prison Volunteer - Richard Shelton A terrific book. Poignant without being sentimental, moving without being naive. Shelton is an inspiring example of how a writer can make a difference in the world. As someone who also teaches in a prison, I found his perspective on the moral ambiguity of caring about people who have often, undeniably, done terrible things, extremely valuable. His examples of people who have transcended their pasts and their horrible, stupid choices, as well as those who have endured terrible miscarriages of justice and sometimes inhumane treatment is humbling. He is not, as I have said before, naive. He sees quite clearly the violence and twisted thinking of the men he comes in contact with behind bars...he also points out that a good number of them are not inmates, but guards/staff. The lines of who is a criminal and who is not are thought-provokingly blurred. I would be surprised by anyone who could read this book and not have their thinking changed by it. We are all, in one way or another, criminals, and all the victims of crime. Shelton successfully breaks down the barriers of us vs them. As Robert Benchley once said, "There are only two kinds of people in the world -- those who think there are two kinds of people in the world, and those who don't."