Author Archives: Juan Haines

Exploring the rabbit hole that led them to violence

On a hazy mid-April weekend, 15 men gathered in an old prison yard bungalow at San Quentin to think about why they killed—why they robbed—why they ended up here. Most of them are serving life sentences, locked up for decades. They came to this writing workshop, called The Rabbit Hole, to explain who they were […]

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The powerful voice of Jennifer Richter

By Juan Haines Poetry has always had the ability to make me, unintentionally, think of things or someone in unexpected ways. So, when I pick up a poem, I am open to finding out what the writer is trying to say through the combination of words that have a rhythm or cadence that just sounds […]

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SQ Death Row holds poetry slam

By Juan Haines A poetry slam helped 10 condemned men talk about the challenges they face living on San Quentin’s Death Row. They presented poems to prison administrators and custody staff on Sept. 7 and 14. There is a stereotype that “we have no redeeming qualities,” said Clifton Perry, 46. “Although a jury thought this, […]

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Kid CAT symposium highlights value of rehabilitation

By Juan Haines The day after Yom Kippur, a prison chapel served as a safe place for survivors of crime, men who committed violent crimes and concerned citizens to hold a conversation about the importance of rehabilitation and atonement for community healing. “I think that this day is important because we have two voices that […]

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The hopeful resilient human spirit behind bars

By Juan Haines Zek: An American Prison Story (2016), by Arthur Longworth, captures the tedious and mundane, the miserable and disappointing, the irrational and vicious aspects of doing time behind bars. But it also offers keen assurance that, in spite of these highly toxic dynamics, the resilient human spirit retains the ability to hold on […]

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The newly released in Alameda face barriers to public housing

By Juan Haines In 2014, nearly 4,800 people returned to Alameda County from state prisons, while on any given day an estimated 3,200 people were in the county jail. Approximately 375,000 (one out of four) people in the county have a criminal record, and about 20,000 of them are at risk of losing the roofs […]

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ROOTS graduation offers multicultural self-discovery

By Juan Haines Animated and rhythmic drumming captivated an audience of about 75 prisoners and a dozen Bay Area community members during a Sept. 18 graduation ceremony for a program designed to guide multicultural prisoners on a path toward self-discovery. Several skits and comedic acts brought lots of laughs at the ceremony for ROOTS (Restoring […]

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White House Adviser Visits San Quentin’s Coding Program

By Juan Haines Recently, Facebook founder, Mark Zuckerberg, had a conversation with senior White House Adviser Valerie Jarrett to talk about the public’s benefit from a computer coding program at San Quentin State Prison. “One of the reasons I came here is to learn directly from you the impact this program is having on your […]

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Mock Election Draws Huge Turnout

By Juan Haines The men on San Quentin’s Death Row overwhelmingly favor Hillary Clinton for President over Donald Trump. In a mock election, the former secretary of state won 64 percent of the vote, compared to Trump’s 15 percent, and the remainder divided among Libertarian and Green candidates. The election, which captured votes from 107 of […]

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A Look Back Into Voting History of Minorities

By Juan Haines A coalition of America’s minorities, voting with liberal Whites, could dramatically change the nation’s political landscape, a progressive author says. However, disenfranchisement laws diminish the impact of the largest minority group, African-Americans. States throughout the country have varying laws that play a role in taking away a person’s right to vote. In […]

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