Within Prison Walls

Within Prison Walls

by Thomas Mott Osborne


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Thomas Mott Osborne's account of his voluntary stay in Auburn State prison. Osborne, the head of a state commission on "the prison problem," checked into Auburn to personally experience conditions there. It is really engaging and heartfelt, as well as highly political. Osborne encountered tremendous institutional and political resistance to his reform efforts and you get a real sense of that in this book ...

In a review of a biography of Osborne the New York Times had this to say:

Thomas Mott Osborne presents the phenomenon, not rare among men of genius and high talent, where the work of the man surpasses the individual. To no one person is the modem world of prison reform and the whole broad subject of penology so much in debt as to him.

Yet in his own eyes he felt, near the end of his days, that he had lived an ineffectual life. With the shortsightedness of disappointment and despair he could not realize that within ten years of his death biographers would be preoccupied with the ideal of evaluating him as one of the major figures in American reform . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783732686278
Publisher: Outlook Verlag
Publication date: 05/25/2018
Pages: 198
Product dimensions: 5.83(w) x 8.27(h) x 0.45(d)

Read an Excerpt

CHAPTER IV MONDAY AFTERNOON Later in the day; about 5:3O, I think; I have no watch and nowhere does there seem to be a clock in sight, so I am necessarily rather vague as to the exact time. I am again double locked in my cell, this time for the nightfourteen mortal hours. For me there is plenty to doto write, to read, to ' think about; but how about those who do not care for / reading, who write with difficulty, or who can neither s/ read nor write? Then again, I look forward to only - six nights in this stone vault; but how about those who must look forward to an endless series of nights, month after month, year after year, five, ten, fifteen, twenty V. years, life? y My God! How do they ever stand it? Until nine o'clock, when the lights will go out, I am my own master; my own master in a world of four feet by seven and a half, in which I am the only inhabitant. Other human beings are living all abouton either side, at the back, above, below; yet separated by double thick stone walls from every other living creature in this great community, I am absolutely solitary. I have never felt so curiously, desperately lonely. The loneliness in the midst of crowds is proverbial; but the loneliness in,the midst of a crowd of invisible human beingsnot one of whom do you even hearthat has in it an element of heavily weighted horror which is quite indescribable. It can only be felt. The curious sensation of nervous resentment, noticed this noon, is upon me in greater force to-night. If I were to just let myself go, I believe I should soon be beating my fists on the iron grated door of my cage and yelling. Of course I shall do nothing so foolish, but I feel the impulse distinctly. I wonderhow I shall stand a week of this. I must certainly keep my nerves under bett...

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