Letters: San Quentin, Spain
Letters: San Quentin, Spain
Melissa Block and Michele Norris read from listeners' e-mails about Laura Sullivan's story on prison overcrowding at San Quentin, and also correct a geographical goof from Monday's program.
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MICHELE NORRIS, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Michele Norris.
MELISSA BLOCK, host:
And I'm Melissa Block.
It's time now for your e-mails about yesterday's program. Much of the mailbag centered on our story about overcrowding at San Quentin Prison in California. NPR's Laura Sullivan described a place where hundreds of inmates are living packed into what used to be the prison gymnasium and where racial and gang violence is endemic.
NORRIS: That was the single best piece of news reporting I've heard in a very, very long time, writes Kate Niles(ph) from Durango, Colorado. Kudos for revealing just how demonic a culture we've become. It reminded me of the horror stories about psychiatric hospitals from the mid-20th century or 19th century orphanages or tenements.
BLOCK: Michael Broff(ph) of Richmond, Virginia brought a very personal perspective to his e-mail. I spent almost a year in jail, he writes, in 2004 for graffiti, and much of what you reported on rang very true. The description of prison inducing the feelings of stress, fear and boredom simultaneously was the most accurate description I can think of from my experience. I certainly don't think incarceration should be a comfortable experience, but the current situation is clearly counterproductive.
NORRIS: Not all of you were so complimentary. Jonathan Edmonds(ph) of Silverton, Oregon was among several listeners who felt our reporting was unbalanced.
BLOCK: Where in this whole discussion was the accountability for the folks who ended up in prison, asks Mr. Edmonds. This story felt decidedly sympathetic to these folks, most of whom made extremely poor choices and need to live with the consequences just like those they hurt.
NORRIS: Finally, a correction. In our conversation yesterday about the joys of being a Spanish sports fan. I misspoke and said that Lisbon was in Spain. Whoops, it is of course in Portugal. Had we asked people on the streets of Lisbon how they felt about their Spanish rivals winning the European soccer championship, we suspect euphoria would not have been the dominant emotion.
BLOCK: Whether you question our geography or our journalism, we want to hear from you. You can reach us by going to our Web site, npr.org, and clicking on contact us. That's npr.org and click on contact us.
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