2015 Falmouth Reads Together
About the book: In the book, Dr. Bates tells of her journey into teaching in prisons alongside the story of Wabash Valley Correctional Facility prisoner Larry Newton’s path to Shakespeare. Newton, who was convicted of murder, spent more than 10 years in the segregated housing unit, in solitary for 23 hours a day for a variety of crimes, including attempted escape and stabbing a prison guard.
About the author: An English professor at Indiana State University, Dr. Bates has spent more than 25 years teaching prisoners, from tutoring inmates in an Illinois county jail to leading discussions on Shakespeare’s plays in a state maximum security prison. Her book focuses on a program created in 2003 by officials at Wabash Valley that allowed Dr. Bates to take Shakespeare to the prisoners kept segregated from the others in a prison for the prisoners.
“His transformation is such a remarkable one. It’s a testimony to the power of education, the power of literature,” she said. “That’s something all faculty experience on some level in that we’re changing our students’ lives. Larry’s story validates what we’re doing, whether we’re on campus or in prison.”
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