Seventeen. That was my age when I was sentenced and I have now served more than half of my life in maximum security Wisconsin prisons.
My sentence? Life in prison. My crime? I was party to the unintentional death of an innocent man.
Although I was involved in this death, I am not a murderer. I know this in my heart, in my regret for this loss of life, and through my daily actions.
I am an artist. I paint and donate my works of art. In the years to come I want to create art that will help save youth from making thoughtless choices. I also want to create art that will help you on the outside understand what we face on the inside – the very real need for prison reform in Wisconsin and elsewhere – the very real need to involve more people in working toward prisoner rehabilitation rather than punishment.
Most of us on the inside are both perpetrators and victims. Hurt people hurt people.
Help me lessen the hurt.
Correspondence may be sent to: DarRen Morris [#236425], Columbia Correctional Institution, P.O. Box 900, Portage, WI 53901
Positive words preferred.
Judith Gwinn Adrian
I teach undergraduate and graduate classes at Edgewood College, Madison, WI, and support the work toward holistic alternatives to incarceration.
When I completed my Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1993) in adult education, I understood that adult learning is about change and about the belief that all of us continue to grow throughout our lifespans (and beyond…who knows). We are all teachers and all learners. There is always hope and always opportunity to make things better.