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*Silver Medal, 2015 IBPA Benjamin Franklin Awards, Best New Voice*
*Finalist, Memoir, 2015 Maine Literary Award*
In this gripping nonfiction account, Robert Reilly provides a look inside Americas prison system unlike any other, and the way that it affects not only the prisoners themselves but also the corrections officers and their families.
After 13 years of struggling in the music business, Robert Reilly found himself broke and on the edge of despair. The specter of success in the music business had become a monster about to ruin his family life. Something had to change, or something was going to break beyond repair.
A chance conversation with a neighbor led him to apply, somewhat half-heartedly, for a job at the county prison. Although he hated the thought of a real job, a regular salary of $40,000 with benefits, and paid time off seemed like a small fortune. Amazingly, I somehow got hired. So, in an effort to do the right thing and put my family first, I left the madness of the music business and entered the insanity of the U.S. prison system.
Robert Reilly served a seven-year term as a prison guard in Pennsylvania and Maine. Entering Americas industrial prison system in search of a way to support his young family, the struggling musician found himself in a looking-glass world where, often, only the uniforms distinguished guards from prisoners. Life in Prison chronicles the horrors of a place where justice is arbitrary, outcomes are preordained, and the private sector makes big money while the public looks away. This is Reillys story of doing time.
To call the experience sobering would be the ultimate understatement: As time crawls by, I become jealous of the inmates leaving the prison. I start to slip; I start to feel like Im losing my faith. Any trace of innocence that I thought I still had starts to evaporate. I begin to feel trapped, imprisoned, locked in a dark heartbreaking world, just like an inmate.