Wall of room in Ward Retreat 1 at St. Elizabeth's psychiatric hospital in Washington, D.C. Via the Otis Historical Archives National Museum of Health and Medicine.

A Message from Prison

When somebody just needs to disappear.

Killing the Buddha

Set Free on Holy Thursday

Today I watched a man go free. I was on a jury, trying him for the crime of breaking into an apartment and stealing a cell phone. We heard the evidence and deliberated for two days. Most people thought he probably did it. He had a mean look about him. But the evidence wasn’t there…


Let Freedom Wring

I didn’t know it was Banned Books Week when I attended the discussion on Sherman Alexie’s National Book Award-winning The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian at the school library last night. Nor had I read the book, though it seemed worth supporting. Heck, anything that gets my 19-year-old welding and construction students to…

Eastern State Penitentiary, from the series "Abandoned Souls" by Ted Daniels. Click the image to see more.

Imagining Prisons

From a Protestant monastery to the prison-industrial complex.


Hear the Prison Panel

The May 1st KtB panel on “The Prison-Spirituality Complex” was a big success, and now you can hear it in full, whether you were able to make it to The Tank that night—just blocks away from an attempted car bombing in Times Square—or not. In addition to audience members, the participants you’ll hear are (pictured…

Killing the Buddha

A Jam-Packed Weekend of Prison Panels

Whet your prison-panel appetite, the Friday night before KtB’s Prison-Spirituality Complex. Join Anthony Cardenales, Piper Kerman, and Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, for the PEN Prison Writing Panel, moderated by Jackson Taylor. PEN American Festival Writing Inside, Writing Outside Panel Friday, April 30, 2010, 6:30-8:00 PM Elebash Recital Hall, CUNY Graduate Center 365 Fifth Avenue, New York,…

Killing the Buddha

A Preview of KtB’s Prison Panel Saturday

What’s on tap for KtB’s “Prison-Spirituality Complex” panel discussion this Saturday night? Redemption stories that have shaped America’s prisons. Fantasies of solitude that have made solitary confinement the American way of rehabilitating prisoners. The role of race in the mass incarceration of African Americans: the prison-industrial complex as a contemporary plantation.  What can bible stories do…

Hoping for Option B

Two brothers talk about the death penalty, kayaking, and the reality of evil.

Killing the Buddha

Get Out of Jail with God

Mark Bergen, KtB circulation manager and writer, has a piece over on Religion Dispatches today. Responding to gutted state and federal budgets, the religious right is stepping into America’s prisons, Bible in hand. Does the First Amendment stop on the other side of the bars? For decades, Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) has placed its volunteers…

Eastern State Penitentiary

Panel: The Prison-Spirituality Complex

Saturday, May 1, 2010 7:00 – 9:00 PM (Cocktail hour begins at 6:00) The Tank Space for Performing and Visual Arts 354 W. 45th Street (between 8th and 9th Ave.) New York, NY Where lies the soul of the supermax? From the Quaker-inspired architecture of Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary in the 1820s to Chuck Colson’s…


Abandoned Souls

Photographing spaces of enforced meditation at Philadelphia’s Eastern State Penitentiary.

Killing the Buddha

Locked Up; Thrown Out

Six years ago today, sitting in front of a television with the rest of the country, we jotted down a few thoughts that soon became a reflection on the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks. Two wars later, we see some of the strange fruit those attacks planted: news of the ongoing purge of religion…

"'Pray for strength,' he said.  'I need strength.'"


An ex-con challenges his teammate’s faith.


What’s Past Jersey?

A dispatch from the co-founder of The Lineage Project, an organization bringing storytelling, meditation, and yoga to incarcerated youth in New York City and Riker’s Island City Jail.