Prison From The Inside Out: One Man's Journey From A Life Sentence to Freedom

Prison From The Inside Out: One Man's Journey From A Life Sentence to Freedom

by William "Mecca" Elmore, Susan Simone
Prison From The Inside Out: One Man's Journey From A Life Sentence to Freedom

Prison From The Inside Out: One Man's Journey From A Life Sentence to Freedom

by William "Mecca" Elmore, Susan Simone


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Prison From The Inside Out is both a book and an act of trust: A black man from New Jersey and a white woman from New York meet in a workshop at a North Carolina prison. They decide they have something to tell the world about incarceration, self-esteem, personal growth, survival, and the power of trust. Together they have created this book.

On March 30, 1991, William "Mecca" Elmore fired a gun toward a parked and occupied van in an attempt to protect a friend who he thought was actively involved in a drug deal gone bad. In court two years later, that same friend testified that Mecca had aimed directly at the van's occupants, one of whom died of his wound before reaching the hospital. Mecca admitted to firing the gun, but he did not plan to kill anyone, so although the public defender urged him to take a plea bargain, he insisted on taking the stand. Today, Mecca sees giving that testimony as a turning point in his life.

Mecca was sentenced to "mandatory life," a sentence that meant he would spend the rest of his natural life in prison with no possibility of parole.

Prison From The Inside Out tells the story of how that sentence was served.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780961444488
Publisher: Human Kindness Foundation
Publication date: 02/02/2021
Pages: 390
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.87(d)

About the Author

In 1993 Mecca was convicted of first degree murder and sentenced at the age of 23 to spend his natural life in prison. He had been dealing drugs, shot a gun and a man had died. Mecca fired in self-defense, but the jury disagreed. Before trial, Mecca was offered a plea that required he plead guilty to murder with intent. Mecca refused to sign. For the next 24 years he lived as a "lifer" in eleven North Carolina prisons.
In 2011, Mecca learned about the MAPP, a program that offers offenders who committed crimes before October 1, 1994, the opportunity to be granted a parole. In 2012, Mecca was granted a MAPP, awarded honor grade and moved to the Orange Correctional Center, a minimum security prison. On Dec. 15, 2015 he was released.
Since regaining his freedom, Mecca has committed himself to outreach. He works with youth through RSN, a support network for young people with problems related to addiction. He is involved in prison ministry, mediation, arbitration support, and teaches job-readiness workshops at Step Up Ministries in Durham. Mecca is a founder and lead facilitator for Wounded Healers, a program that brings together people who have been released with the incarcerated., and a member of the board of The Human Kindness Foundation. Outside of work, Will is an avid athlete and a certified personal trainer.

Simone is a documentary photographer and oral historian. Her documentary projects include: We Are All Housekeepers (an exhibition about labor history on the UNC campus), Fotos del Pueblo (an early look at the emerging Latinx community in North Carolina), Habitat For Humanity: Celebration 2000, and Nepal and Tibet: The People Who Live in Shangri-La (a collaboration with renowned Nepali poet Manjul).
In the 1990's and early 2000's Simone served as the coordinator of the Prison Pen Pal Project for the North Carolina Writer's Network, pairing professional writers with aspiring incarcerated writers. She also taught creative nonfiction in the North Carolina Correctional Center for Women. In 2009, Simone began offering a workshop at the Orange Correctional Center in Hillsborough, NC, incorporating writing, film, art, and spoken word in an eclectic weekly learning circle.
When she is not doing her part to stop mass incarceration, Simone works as a technical writer, editor, and yoga instructor. Her previous written work includes numerous short form fiction and technical publications and the books

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Part One: Getting into Prison

Chapter 1: "One Bad Decision"

Chapter 2: Bessie's story

Chapter 3: Mecca Growing Up in Jersey, Way Back When

Chapter 4: Out on the Street, Gambling, Drugs and Cash

Chapter 5: From Cheryl's Side of the Table

Part Two: Doing Time

Chapter 6: From Nash to Texas and Back

Chapter 7: Northerners in the South

Chapter 8: The James Leone Experience

Chapter 9: The Law From the Outside In

Chapter 10: Opening My Heart to Hope

Chapter 11: Fire! One More Lesson in Humility

Chapter 12: What Can You Learn While Butchering Hogs?

Chapter 13: Stepping into Freedom

Part Three: Freedom

Chapter 14: Christmas Holidays

Chapter 15: Zelda - Friendship and Love

Chapter 16: Processing Freedom: Emotional Side Trips

Chapter 17: This is a Movement!

Chapter 18: Biophilia: Prepare the Soil, Treasure the Harvest


Appendix 1 List of Prisons

Appendix 2 Not All Prisons Are Alike

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