Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences

Overview

This photographic collection of interviews with men and women serving life sentences in prison provides illuminating portraits of the prisoners as they candidly discuss their crimes and their impact and reflect on their feelings, loneliness, and coping with prison life.

What does it mean to face a life prison sentence? What have "lifers" learned about life—from having taken a life? Photographer Howard Zehr has interviewed and made portraits of men and women in Pennsylvania ...

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Overview

This photographic collection of interviews with men and women serving life sentences in prison provides illuminating portraits of the prisoners as they candidly discuss their crimes and their impact and reflect on their feelings, loneliness, and coping with prison life.

What does it mean to face a life prison sentence? What have "lifers" learned about life—from having taken a life? Photographer Howard Zehr has interviewed and made portraits of men and women in Pennsylvania prisons who are serving life sentences without possibility of parole. Readers see the prisoners as people, de-mystified.

Brief text accompanies each portrait, the voice of each prisoner speaking openly about the crime each has committed, the utter violation of another person each has caused. They speak of loneliness, missing their children growing up, dealing with the vacuum, caught between death and life. A timely book.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Pennsylvania, home of the Quakers, was once associated with prison reform. Today, it has one of the harshest sentencing systems in the country. A conviction of first- or second-degree murder carries an automatic sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. What is it like to be locked up for life? Zehr, a writer and consultant on criminal-justice issues, asked this question of 70 men and women lifers. Their answers appear here in short interviews next to Zehr's black-and-white photographs of the respondents. The interviews are surprisingly upbeat commentaries on the meaning of life as well as on life sentences. But the photographs are the most compelling. Shot against a plain muslin background with a "looking at the camera" style of portrait, the subjects are real people, not statistics in a criminal justice log book. The total effect is memorable. Highly recommended.Frances Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, N.Y.
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Product Details

Meet the Author

Howard Zehr is widely known as “the grandfather of restorative justice.” Since 1996 he has been Professor of Restorative Justice at the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, VA, an international graduate program for justice and peacebuilding practitioners. Howard has published several other portrait/interview books including Doing Life: Reflections of Men and Women Serving Life Sentences and Transcending: Reflections of Crime Victims (both with Good Books). He has authored numerous other books and publications; best known are The Little Book of Restorative Justice (Good Books) and Changing Lenses: A New Focus for Crime and Justice. He is a frequent speaker and consultant on justice issues in North America and internationally. Zehr has also worked professionally as a photographer.

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