Shakespeare In Shackles


If only programs like “Shakespeare in Shackles” were more widespread in prisons throughout the country. Read on for details on Laura Bates’, who teaches Shakespeare to maximum-security prisoners, program.

According to the blog post, “[f]or most of the past 15 years [Bates] has focused on those in ‘Supermax’—the violent, erratic, ‘worst of the worst’ stowed in long-term solitary confinement. She is the first and only person ever to do so.”

Touching Your Community.com

Text by Jeremy Berlin
On a windy April day in central Indiana, six men enter a room.Three are white, three are black. Two are over 50, the rest under 40. All of them wear khaki jumpsuits and carry books under their tattooed arms.They are six of the 1,840 inmates at the Pendleton Correctional Facility, a Level 4 maximum-security prison. Built in 1923, its Spanish Colonial Revival buildings and grassy courtyards once housed John Dillinger.

The men sit in a semicircle, facing a chalkboard and two visitors. One is the instructor, a gray-bearded man with glasses. The other is a guest speaker: a tall woman in her mid-50s with keen blue eyes and flaxen hair streaked silver. This is her first time in Pendleton. But she knows one of the inmates, kept in another part of the prison, very well.

“Remember,” she tells the men in the room, speaking cheerfully…

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