Prison reflections by Lynne Greenwald


As I was cleaning up my cluttered workspace this evening I discovered a letter from Lynne Greenwald from July.  It contained three reflections that she had written in June and July.  I’ve transcribed all three and posted them below; they provide a personal glimpse of life on the inside.  I’m sorry not to have done this much earlier.

I’ve also scanned part of the envelope as Lynne created something of beauty on it and it made me smile.




Prison reflections by Lynne Greenwald, SeaTac Federal Detention Center

June 15, 2011

I think I’m doing well. I’m calm, sleep fairly well, laugh, pray, exercise… And then one little incident happens, sending me to the edge of tears. Today I’m realizing how the pressure of “keeping in line” takes its toll. It has taken me 2 ½ months to come to the realization that both subtle and more obvious methods of control exist in this prison system. The subtle controls will get you the most.

June 19, 2011

Sundays are my favorite days here. Peaceful mornings, and closest to my “normal” schedule as possible. Quiet time, walking, reading and meditating, calling family, and listening to some excellent radio programs that originate from Canada.

Today I was transported, via radio waves, to an art exhibit of 11 abstract painters who defined the transition period following World War II up to the Vietnam War years. I appreciate the art director’s explanation of artistic meaning after the world’s reality of concentration camps and nuclear destruction.

Now I’m pondering what today’s artwork will capture, hoping for the light and joy of conversion and resistance to be woven throughout any expression of our world today.

July 8, 2011

About every other week a newly-loaded book cart arrives in our unit. This is greeted with the same enthusiasm as an ice cream vendor on a hot summer day. Sometimes in the evening women sit on the floor around the cart, talking and exchanging books with friends. Once I exclaimed, “Looks like Barnes and Noble.” Smiling faces looked up, perhaps pleased at a moment’s though of normalcy, of life on the outside.

Today a friend and I found a wonderful photographic book of tropical underwater life. We sat with another woman as we slowly enjoyed each page. She said it reminded her of home in Mexico; beautiful beaches and fishing. Her husband and 2-year-old remain there as she sits in prison waiting to be released to her birth state, Utah, for a 3-year probation. Love doesn’t recognize borders, but families are torn apart because of them.

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