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Doing Time: Finding Hope at San Quentin

Overview

Doing Time: Finding Hope at San Quentin is a personal account of the author's ten years of prison ministry-preaching, teaching, and simply visiting the men in the cellblocks at San Quentin State Prison. Through regular interaction, the author experienced firsthand the wide range of men there, from drug addicts to lifers. Despite the hardness of "doing time," they demonstrate a faith and honesty that profoundly impact his life. He becomes deeply touched by the genuine ...
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Doing Time: Finding Hope at San Quentin

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Overview

Doing Time: Finding Hope at San Quentin is a personal account of the author's ten years of prison ministry-preaching, teaching, and simply visiting the men in the cellblocks at San Quentin State Prison. Through regular interaction, the author experienced firsthand the wide range of men there, from drug addicts to lifers. Despite the hardness of "doing time," they demonstrate a faith and honesty that profoundly impact his life. He becomes deeply touched by the genuine spirituality of countless prisoners and their genuine remorse for their sins.

In addition to interweaving his own story with those of individual prisoners, the author opines on a corrupt penal system that is in the hands of management that is accountable to no one. The result is that punishment, not rehabilitation, permeates the correctional system.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809145270
  • Publisher: Paulist Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/2008
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Hooked by the Q     1
First Time in the Cell Blocks     6
Tattoos, Grilled Cheese, and Clyde the Glide     11
Confronting Clyde the Glide     18
A "Dirty Test" and the Prodigal Son     25
The "Historical Jesus"     29
Rome, Venice, and the Death Penalty     36
A Gay at the Q     41
A Cruel Joke     44
Too Much Champagne     50
The Guards     54
Saved by the Blood of Jesus     62
Buckle Up Back to Prison     65
Letting Go of Anger     71
"The Gang of Ten"     78
A Druggie and JFK     84
More "Gang of Ten"     90
John Brown's Body     96
Intimacy     104
Racism     110
Sister Karen Teaches the Psalms     114
Death Row     119
Things I Have Learned     123
I Was in Prison and You Visited Me     126
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 30, 2008

    Doing Time

    Having been a state and federal probation officer for over thirty years, I initially rejected Dennis Burke's generous willingness to accept many of the San Quentin prisoners' minimizations and/or denials of guilt; and their claims of being victimized by "the system." For my entire career I prepared and/or reviewed sentencing reports and violation reports on criminal defendants. These focused of their social and criminal histories. Speaking solely about those I myself prepared or which preparation I supervised, I believe that (depending on the professional skill and personal dedication of the probation officer) the vast majority were quite thorough and well documented (especially in the federal system). However, many defendants, with seeming sincerity, still persisted in denial. (I had a notable murder case where the defendant was, in fact, right and "the system" had knowingly falsely accused him.) Following my initial indignation, I re-read this book and emerged impressed and rewarded. In Dennis Burke, these men received the care and devotion of a former priest who is deeply learned in the spiritual and the temporal and who selflessly sought them out to benefit both their everlasting souls and their secular intellects. For ten years he gave them knowledge of both the City of God and the City of Man. Any punishment which was to be meted out was to come from their own newly discovered remorse--not from Dennis Burke. The "bruised reed" he refused to break. The "smoking wick" he refused to quench. And so, I am left to question which of us did the better work: I, who often revealed to the sentencing judge the falsity of the defendants' claims of innocence and victimization; or Dennis Burke who worked so hard to sanctify their stories and to submit them only to the judgment of God? I was well paid for my work. I suspect that Dennis Burke will be better rewarded for his.

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