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Sentences and Paroles: A Prison Reader

james hörner

many voices in society are stifled for various reasons, especially the voice of the prisoner. Sentences and Paroles opens with an epigraph by Victor Serge: "He who speaks, he who writes is above all one who speaks on behalf of all those who have no voice."

Sentences and Paroles book cover what we have here is many things. it is a text which presents the voice of the prisoner through poetry, prose and essay. as well, it is a text which presents newspaper articles, journal entries and photographs to present the reader with fiction and reality, story and the everyday struggle of the imprisoned.

there is a short introduction by Robert Kroetsch which invokes the themes Sentences and Paroles explores through various means. the meat of the book is penned in by a narrative structure, of sorts. part I dealing with "Sentences," part II with "Paroles." within each section there is a breakdown into concepts and themes such as Arrest, Working, Dying, Surviving, The Women, and The Guards in part I. within each of these sections is a paragraph introducing the concept and framing it within the overall structure. then there is material by well known authors such as Susan Musgrave and Stephen Reid, but also striking and compelling material by authors such as Frank Guiney, John Abbott, Tom Elton, among many others.

part II is somewhat different, with a stronger emphasis on several viewpoints together presenting narratives on Billy Miner, Vladimir Meier, and Claire Culhane, to name a few. these are stories we should know more about, becoming educated on issues which are either historically important or are recent examples of how the 'justice' system works, and sometimes fails.

overall, Sentences and Paroles is another important work documenting the voice of the prisoner. it is an enlightening examination of the prison system, and, like P.J. Murphy's earlier work with Life-25: Interviews With Prisoners Serving Life Sentences, will forever change the way you perceive the world of the imprisoned, and concepts of incarceration and punishment.

published by new star books
ISBN 0-921586-63-9

james hörner edits canadian content.

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