Don’t tell me it’s necessary and responsible. Consider the following entry for 1971 in Clarence S. Kailin’s The Black Chronicle: An American History Textbook Supplement (1974): On September 23, inhuman prison conditions, long suppressed from public notice, led to an uprising by Attica Prison inmates.
Donald A. Wesling et al. We lock them in training centers for anger and violence. In 1971, a film based on the play was released. "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons."
As Rothenberg stated in October 1968, Dostoyevsky’s words became the slogan of the Society, whose goal was “to create a greater public awareness of the prison system in America today” and “to reveal complexities and problems faced by inmates during their incarceration.” Since its founding in 1969, the Society has been broadcasting its weekly radio program Both Sides of the Bars and publishing the monthly newsletter The Fortune News with the words attributed to Dostoyevsky’s The House of the Dead as its motto, which always appears on the front page in the upper right corner: In the spring of 1969, The Village Voice reported that Rothenberg has used his publicity talents on behalf of ex-convicts, sharing his office with them and accompanying them “on speaking engagements.” Elaborating on Dostoyevsky’s quote, the newspaper concluded that “the crusade for decent and effective prisons is an uphill battle but one well worth engaging in if we are ever to approximate our boast of being civilized.”. <> As Amy Ronner told me in discussing this matter, there is something about Dostoyevsky that makes American criminologists and activists reach out to him for support: “Sometimes ‘we’ are so desperate to have him as our ally that we even construct (unintentionally?)
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Or will they be released thirsting for vengeance? Would we stand for another nation treating people this way? It would cost a lot less money to offer children decent schools and food and guidance than it does to imprison men. At least this is the situation on the main line in most of the California prisons. We throw the innocent in with the guilty, the young with the old, the nonviolent with the violent, the hopeful with those who’ve lost all interest in life. www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. My hypothesis is that we are dealing with a mystification, perhaps unintended, that originated in Herbert’s circle. endobj Subscribe to our annual digital level for $100 and help us keep our eclectic array of online pieces free to the public. Khodorkovsky’s testimony is that this is a corrupt system with little or no effort to do more than coop up the hopeless, the drug-addicted, the vicious — and the occasional visionary.  See Dane Lanken, “Playwright John Herbert Stays on the Outside,” The Montreal Gazette, November 7, 1970, and Frank Prosnitz, “The Fortune Society Offers Hope,” Asbury Park Press, August 3, 1968. Every day someone dies spiritually. The jailer with the whip and knout is still there but he has modern psychological weapons.
In the late 1950s and ’60s, Dostoyevsky’s prison novel gained new momentum in the American and British public imaginations, as evidenced by the editions of 1957, 1959, 1962 and 1965, published with Ernest J. Simmons’s and H. Sutherland Edwards’s introductions detailing the author’s prison life. Some American publications even refer to page 76 of the 1957 Grove edition of Constance Garnett’s translation. Dostoyevsky’s supposed dictum, very much in keeping with the 1960s and ’70s Western progressive agenda epitomized by Foucault’s Surveiller et punir: Naissance de la prison, was adopted by American activists as the motto for the prison reform movement. The irony of history has also seen the Russian writer’s alleged dictum return to Russia. US newspapers observed “the growth of prison publications” and spoke of “prison authors” as a contemporary phenomenon influenced, in part, by Dostoyevsky’s novel: During the last year, The News had published the writings of several convict-authors, providing, we had hoped, an insight into the minds of the prisoners and of their environment behind the wall […] Prison authors, whether their writing has been smuggled outside the wall or passed by the censor, have to be credited with revealing some of the violent conditions existing in prisons.
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