In this fictionalized biography, Judy and DarRen share stories of privilege and prison, hurt and heart: epistolary accounts of two people raised in the parallel universes of southeast Wisconsin and northeast Illinois. After serving three months on a fifteen year sentence, Judy’s father’s privilege allowed him to join the military and then become a physician and medical researcher. Some of his research involved human experimentation on prisoners. And DarRen, at age 17, was sentenced to life in prison, with a first possible parole date of 100 years. He has now served more than half of his life in Wisconsin maximum security prisons. He has become a Rastafarian and a uniquely talented artist. Judy teaches restorative justice and more at a small college in Madison, WI.

In Warm Blood provides insights not frequently found in either academic studies of prison life or in prisoner memoirs. Instead, it provides, through the reflections of two persons in dialogue — inside and outside of the razor-wire barriers — a look at the humanity on both sides of the walls we have erected in fear. The final sentences contain a recognition that “the system is broken and out of control” with a sense that nothing can be done. But in response it ends with the statement: “Maybe the stretch of the pen – this pen – is part of the answer.”

From the foreword by Esther Heffernan, Professor Emerita
Author of Making It in Prison: The Square, The Cool and The Life