Book Clubs

STUDY GUIDE FOR IN WARM BLOOD:  PRISON & PRIVILEGE, HURT & HEART
Judith Gwinn Adrian & DarRen Morris

Download PDF version of the Guide

PARENTING

    • Does the larger society have an obligation to help parents raise “spirited” young men and women? How?
    • Is corporal punishment a cultural practice? Are there times when it is acceptable? Who decides?

PRIVILEGE

      • Rodney’s privilege allowed him to serve 3 months on a 15 year sentence for a crime he did commit. Is the judicial system equitable? Fair?
      • What did DarRen gain from the power/privilege of his family when he was a youth and teen?

ROLE OF SOCIAL SERVICES/MENTAL HEALTH SERVICES/SCHOOLS/JUVENILE JUSTICE

  • What could/should adults have done for DarRen as he faced abuse and escalating mental illness?

THERE BUT FOR THE GRACE…

  • What would you do to feed your children?
  • Is a person ever the worst thing they have ever done?
  • Have you ever done something that could have gotten you locked up?

MEDICAL ETHICS

  • Should prisoners be allowed to participate in human drug trials for the greater good, and/or as part of redemption for their crimes?
  • Should a person who is behind bars be permitted to give informed consent?

EQUITY IN SENTENCING

  • To what degree should a person’s life experiences and age be considered when s/he is being sentenced for a crime?
  • How much discretion should judges have? (Wisconsin’s Truth in sentencing is an example of lack of discretion.)
  • Why does the U.S. lock up so many young black males? (The War on Drugs is only one piece of this equation.)

PUNISHMENT VS. REHABILITATION

  • Is incarceration itself the punishment? Should corrections officers be permitted to (allowed to) give further punishments?
  • Is solitary confinement ever an appropriate punishment?
  • Should the inner-workings of corrections facilities be more visible to the public?
  • What professional trainings should corrections personnel have to interact with prisoners?
  • Are there “super-predators” who cannot be redeemed and should be incarcerated or at least separated from others?
  • How important are the educational programs, jobs, hobbies, and visitation for prisoners? Should these be available to people with life sentences?

FORGIVENESS

  • Can we forgive people who have made mistakes? How?
  • Can one feel compassion without pity or judgment?
  • What can DarRen do to forgive himself for his crime? Can he help his victim’s family forgive?

TELLING THE STORIES/HISTORIES

  • The book moves through the seasons, from depression in winter to hopefulness in spring. Is this effective?
  • Does the use of humor soften the trauma and pain in the story? Does this increase our compassion for everyone involved?

Why write a book like In Warm Blood: Prison & Privilege, Hurt & Heart?