Changed at San Quentin...for Better or Worse

  • Publish Date: 2006-02-16
  • Binding: Paperback
  • Author: Joe Hare

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Life is hard at San Quentin, for correctional officers and inmates alike. But throughout my thirty-year tenure at the prison, during which I worked with such notorious criminals as Charles Manson, Sirhan Sirhan, and George Jackson of Black Panther fame, I saw lives changed every day-some for the better, some worse. My own life is one I like to think was changed for the better as a result of having been there. But it's all about choices. If I learned anything during my years at San Quentin, it's that choices and actions have consequences. Regardless of the difficult conditions inherent in prison life, for those who chose to take advantage of the help that was offered, their lives almost always took a turn for the better. But for those who chose to continue in justifying and excusing the behavior that landed them in such dire circumstances, rehabilitation was minimal at best. The changes I saw while I worked at San Quentin were not limited to people; conditions and attitudes regarding prisons in general changed as well. The entire penal system underwent enormous changes during that time period-again, some for the better, some worse. Changed at San Quentin...for Better or Worse chronicles my thirty years as a correctional officer in that notorious prison, as well as outlining many of the legal and societal changes that took place during that time period that positively-and, at times, adversely-affected life behind bars in this California penal institution. My ultimate challenge and purpose for writing this book is to point out that, although I believe crime must be punished and the innocent protected from those who would harm them, there is still hope for those who are incarcerated for even the most despicable of crimes if they will make the right choices.-Joe Hare

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