My guest this week on Wise Woman Storytime was Elaine Leeder professor of Sociology and the Dean Emerita of the School of Social Sciences at Sonoma State University. And while Elaine’s career encompasses roles as a professor, teacher, psychotherapist, consultant, author and advocate for social justice, Elaine has a deep commitment to the work she has done within the prison system and a special affection for the Lifers she has worked with who live their lives behind bars.
Today’s show is about this often unspoken topic and the invisible and all too often forgotten people we consider to be the throwaways, the misfits and the incorrigible ones. It’s a show about the prison system and the men that live, work and die there and yes, as we you will learn from her story, sometimes grow, learn and transform themselves.
Elaine’s latest book, My Life with Lifers Lessons for a Teacher: Humanity Has No Bars is a testament to the power of how education and self-help programs can be catalysts for redemption and transformation even for those who have committed horrible crimes. My Life with Lifers is actually a very uplifting and encouraging book about how even under the most dire of situations one can find peace, acceptance and freedom. There are lessons here for all of us.
By Roberta Teller