“A Day at Stateville” is a short play detailing a newcomer’s first day at Stateville Correctional Facility in Joliet, Illinois. Conceived and written by men who participate in the prison’s “Life Transformation Through Communication” course and who are all doing natural life without parole, the play seeks to inspire community members to take action in reducing the number of at-risk youth from entering prisons.

The readings are simple in nature. They are read by formerly incarcerated persons who served time in the prisons that are described in the readings and who have made fine adjustments. People like Danny Franklin who has read several times (Feb. 2009 to present), there were over 20 readings at different places like alternative high schools, universities, youth groups, etc. No special equipment is required. They are simplicity itself.   (I attach a Chicago Sun Times Column by Ron Terry that  recounts one such reading by women at a youth center in a troubled neighborhood.  Mr. Terry precisely caught the spirit of the reading and the program for the South West Youth Collaborative attended by over 120 young people of a varied assortment of races, religions, etc, also in a troubled neighborhood.).

The most powerful part of the readings are the discussions that the readers have with the audience after the reading concludes. They have been exciting and informative.  We distribute criticism/evaluation sheets at each reading to obtain criticisms and to ask if the readings/discussion  impacted previously held perceptions.

We are now in the planning stages to take the readings to different parts of the state so that people will change their minds, call their legislators, and help persons coming from prisons.

Download “A Day at Stateville” (PDF)