Mother California: A Story of Redemption Behind Bars
In 1980, Kenneth Hartman murdered a homeless man in a Los Angeles park after a drug-fueled binge. Sentenced to life without parole by the state of California, Hartman was soon considered a potent force by the system’s most brutal convicts. To the hellish chaos of a maximum-security prison he brought his own limitless propensity for violence—he often spent months at a time...more
Hardcover, 208 pages
Published November 3rd 2009 by Atlas
(first published October 5th 2009)
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There is no way an outsider can legitimately judge the writings of someone condemned to life in prison, without being judged in turn. For most people, the act of murder automatically excludes a person from any consideration as a human being. The only appropriate response to murder is to shut the killer away, deprive them of their identity as human, and ignore their suffering. Above all, it isn't necessary to believe that they may have, through suffering, become a different person and look back o...more
A book I would never have picked up, but it was recommended by an independent book store owner - http://www.rjjulia.com/. The author is in California prison for life without parole. It is a very interesting story about who he was then and who he is now and how redemption comes in the most unexpected ways. Also, it provides interesting insight into the prison system. Short read and extremely well-written.
Prison memoirs are not my thing, but Kenneth Hartman's slim but potent life story takes you out of your day to day life and places you directly in his shoes. Not only is it a fascinating glimpse of life as a prisoner for life without parole, but it's also a hopeful book. Despite everything, Hartman wishes for a better life and strives to be happy and find peace. One finishes the book with a radically different perspective on the American prison system.