Author Archives: Tommy Winfrey

London Gallery Exhibits Death Row’s Art and Poetry

By Tommy Winfrey For most incarcerated individuals, prison is a difficult place to leave. But for a group of 20 men on San Quentin’s Death Row, a part of them made it over the walls of the prison and all the way to an art gallery in London. Between Friday, June 24, and Wednesday, July […]

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Merle Haggard: San Quentin Parolee, Music Icon

By Thomas Winfrey Art Editor “I turned 21 in prison doing life without parole,” music legend Merle Haggard sang in his famous 1968 hit “Mama Tried.” The song was Haggard’s public apology to a religious mother, Flossie Mae, and his acknowledgement that “she tried to raise (him) right.” Merle Ronald Haggard passed away on his […]

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Learning How to Change for the Better

By Tommy Winfrey Arts Editor Spending almost half of my life behind bars, for a crime I committed as a teenager, has changed me. In some ways, I’ve changed for the better and in other ways I have changed for the worse. I went through periods where I have felt the whole world was against […]

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Juvenile Justice Marks Progress, Solutions

By Tommy Winfrey Arts Editor Considering the State of the Youth Address this year, I am very mindful of the accomplishments that have been made in juvenile justice, not just of the accomplishments that Kid CAT has made. In February 2015, Sen. Lonnie Hancock, D-Berkeley, introduced Senate Bill 261. It allows offenders who committed their […]

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Actress Helen Hunt Looks Into Restorative Justice

By Tommy Winfrey Arts Editor A familiar sight greeted many prisoners who have participated in group processing as they entered the Protestant Chapel on Nov. 20 to watch the show Faultline at San Quentin State Prison. The group circles were made up of prisoners and free people, but most notably the actress Helen Hunt. Each […]

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Katya McCulloch’s Dedication to San Quentin Artwork

By Tommy Winfrey Arts Editor For the last 11 years, Katya McCulloch has been teaching block printing at San Quentin State Prison. Over the years, she has figured out what works in a prison setting and what doesn’t when it comes to making prints. On most Friday mornings, McCulloch can be found in the San […]

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Officer McGhee Envisions Taking Trips After Retirement

By Tommy Winfrey Art Editor Officer Eugene McGhee Jr., 55, retired after almost 14 years in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on Friday, July 31, 2015. Prior to retiring from CDCR, McGhee retired from the United States Army, where he had served on active and reserve duty for 34 years. McGhee admitted retirement […]

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Public Gets Rare Glimpse of Art in Prison

By Tommy Winfrey Art Editor On June 19 San Quentin was transformed into an international art gallery as part of a four-day art conference held primarily at the University of San Francisco on “Arts in Corrections – Opportunities for Justice and Rehabilitation.” More than 75 of the conference attendees came to the prison to hear […]

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Beloved Artist Rene Garcia Jr. Passes Away

By Tommy Winfrey Arts Editor San Quentin lost a valued member of the community on May 8. Teacher, multimedia artist and friend to many behind the walls of San Quentin, Rene Garcia Jr. passed away. Garcia was born on July 9, 1973, and leaves behind his wife, Holly, two young children and a mother and […]

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Francisco Vargas Finds That Getting Back Into Prison Can Be as Hard as Getting Out

By Tommy Winfrey Arts Editor Artist and ex-convict Francisco Vargas returned to San Quentin to talk to a group of men about his successes and failures in life. But his return to the historic prison did not go as planned. Getting out of prison can be rather difficult; just ask any lifer. For Vargas, getting […]

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