An Eye for An Eye : Four Inmates on the Crime of American Prisons Today by H. Jack Griswold, Mike Misenheimer, Art Powers, and Ed Tromanhauser
New York : Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1970. First Edition. Hardcover. 288 pages ; 22 cm. $6.95 dust jacket with minimal wear. Pages are clean and unmarked. Binding is firm.
AN EYE FOR AN EYE
H. Jack Griswold has spent more than fifteen years of his life behind bars: five in Washington State, five in Illinois, and his last five in Indiana State Prison on a ten-year sentence for armed robbery.
Mike Misenheimer served his first time in North Carolina on a two- to three-year sentence for Common Law Robbery. He's now on a Life Sentence in Indiana State for "inflicting an injury during the commission of a robbery."
Art Powers has convictions ranging from first-degree larceny to his present ten-to twenty-year term at Indiana State for burglary. "It's rather difficult," he says, "to see anything past this ten- to twenty-year sentence."
Ed Tromanhauser has a criminal career that began with armed assault, quickly followed by robbery convictions and sentences in Illinois, and an armed robbery rap now in Indiana State.
These four cons send the following message to us all from behind their prison bars:
YOU TAXPAYERS ARE BEING CHEATED! PRISONS AREN'T PROTECTING YOU AT ALL. PRISONS ARE DEHUMANIZING SEED-BEDS OF HATRED, INSTITUTIONS OF HIGHER LEARNING IN CRIME AND VIOLENCE. PRISONS TURN OUT MEN FAR MORE DANGEROUS TO "LAW AND ORDER" THAN WHEN THEY WENT IN.
"Fact is, Mr. Hoover," they write, "if I were a member of a 'Communist Conspiracy' I would forthwith lend my voice to the cries for 'an eye for an eye' and shout 'let the offender be damned.' "
With such angry candor, four inmates now serving time in Indiana State Prison devastatingly portray our American penal system and how it threatens any hopes for peace, law, or justice in our society today: the complete sham of so-called rehabilitation and education; the unjust disparities of sentencing; the absurdly capricious parole system; medical, recreational, and sexual iniquities; the corrupt politics of prison administration—but most of all the continuing bestial acts of retribution that society inflicts upon the imprisoned. For the fact is that what prison does to the refugees from contemporary society we call "criminals"— the violence we perpetrate upon these unfortunates is far greater, far more criminal and immoral and destructive to us all, than their original acts. Historians, sociologists, psychologists, and politicians have continually decried our prisons and the dangerous results they daily produce. But never before have four inmates themselves so completely and disturbingly—yet with compassion and an amazing sense of humor—dramatized the moment-to-moment inhumanity and brutality of imprisonment in America today.
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