Justice Arts Coalition Blog

Corrections . . . Because being in prison can be hazardous to your health.

"A lot of people in society view people in prison as big, hulking, tattooed killers. They can’t fathom the thought of them as humans that age, get sick, and die in here like people do in society."

What the Warden Doesn’t Know

By Treacy Ziegler I’m in the deputy warden’s office for an interview; I want to volunteer as an art teacher in a maximum-security men’s prison.  I sit facing the deputy’s desk while she reads my resume. As with many artists’ resumes, mine begins with a list of the solo exhibitions.  After 20 years as an …

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Chained To Repetition

By Treacy Ziegler Prisoner Jerome Washington, drawing still from the animation Moth and Light created by prisoners primarily in solitary confinement, and based upon Bradley’s moth When Bo was released from prison, the guards took bets predicting as to how long he would last on the outside.    As a volunteer art teacher in the prison, …

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Journey to Self

by: Peggy Lamb, Exploring Creativity Coordinator for Truth Be Told Rca, Krystal, Brandi, Kathy, Linda and Nancy. Six women in the white garb of inmates and I sit in a circle in the spacious chapel at the Hilltop Unit in Gatesville, TX. They are in the Female Sex Offender Treatment Program. We are here to …

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Prison’s noose of absolute truth

By Treacy Ziegler We seek truth in many things and demand absolute truth when someone has done wrong. “Who did it?” is the first question asked after a crime, followed by “how” and “why;” the primary questions determining identity, causality, and motive of a crime Identification is a strange thing. It is a paradox of revelation …

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In the company of a door, a bed, and a toilet

By: Treacy Ziegler Arthur Tyler, “Door of death row,”  monotype, courtesy of the artist Volunteering in prison as an art teacher is hard, and I often ask myself why continue? Often I get the answer from the prison students.  A couple of years ago, a new student joined my class in a closed-security prison. During class, …

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Lighthouses, guard towers, and the collapsing spatial planes of prison

By Treacy Ziegler Lawrence Smith, prisoner, drawing of Tehachapi prison, California, courtesy of artist A few years ago, my friend suggested a particular meadow I might want to draw. This friend, who is not actually an artist but with whom I draw on a regular basis, often suggests things to draw. No, I said, the …

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Falling Leaves: Letters from Prison

By Treacy Ziegler Armando Macias, prisoner at San Quentin, drawing from The Circle exhibition Falling leaves Letters from prison “But now you’ve got the gist  of what my letters mean. You’re reading them again The ones you didn’t burn” Leonard Cohen, “The letters”   The letters seem to accumulate indiscriminately on the furniture surfaces of …

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