'gave me joy to be able to remember and know how beautiful life can be'
July 24, 2014 2:46 PM   Subscribe

Windows from PrisonMark Strandquist asked hundreds of prisoners a straightforward question—if your cell could look out on one scene, what would it be?

See also the project that this grew from, Write Home Soon, an ongoing project featuring participant created postcards, each depicting and describing a place—physical, mental, metaphoric—that an individual has lost access to.
posted by yeoz (3 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
One of my best friends spent 17 months in Harris County jail, Houston, convicted on a trumped up charge by a hanging judge. On appeal, it was overturned, as it should have been. It was a horror show, it really was.

Don't talk to cops. Ever. He made every mistake that can be made, incredulous that they'd ask him such questions, determined to make them see he was not "that guy." Don't ever talk to cops. Not one word past "Good morning, officer -- it's a beautiful day." but I'd be careful even saying that. Attorneys, that's who you talk to. But not cops. Ever.

In that 17 months he did not see the sun shine, other than going back and forth to court, twice, on appeal. I wrote him, some, not enough but some, I'd write describing what I was seeing, I remember one morning in particular, standing on a bridge over the river, a windy morning, the sun flickering/flashing/shimmering off the wind blown wave-lets, described the chill in the morning but the beauty in the sunshine, chill or not.

I found out that when you write to a person in jail, describing what you're seeing, you're also writing to his friends in there.

Sunshine, I'm positive that would have been his answer, sunshine and trees and grass, with butterflies and birds etc and etc.
posted by dancestoblue at 3:21 PM on July 24, 2014 [10 favorites]

I would be curious to know what prisoners who aren't from an urban area would want to see. Obviously a choice would be to view your home/neighborhood/block for anyone. But beyond that I can see nature views being a desire for prisoners from a wilder state.

Windows at the Montana state prison face mountains. That would break my heart.
posted by ITravelMontana at 8:07 PM on July 24, 2014 [1 favorite]

Windows at the Montana state prison face mountains. That would break my heart.

Break my heart; give me reason to carry on.
posted by BlueHorse at 10:18 PM on July 24, 2014

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