Real Prison Real Freedom

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Real Prison Real Freedom takes a look at the life of inmate Rickie Smith. Rickie had an average childhood during the 1950s. But what he wanted most was the love and attention of his father. Although his father never seemed to take much interest in Rickie. As a teenager, Rickie turned more often to drugs and crime. His criminal activity led to him receiving a ten-year prison sentence. But his violent behavior inside prison, where he stabbed an inmate and correctional officers, resulted in three other sentences of ninety-nine years each. One day he realized he needed to find peace. He did this by turning to God.

This book is more than a story about one man’s struggle. It also charts the troubled state of the Texas Prison System. Mr. Rosser gives an up-close look at the violence and gang wars that plagued the prison system. He also details the work done to reform the system. Getting to know the stories of people like Captian Price and Bob Norris, who reached out to Rickie by sharing views on religion, made this a much more informative tale. I liked that the author examined the reasons why he felt Rickie’s life had taken a particular path without making excuses for his behavior. And despite all the wrong choices Rickie made, he seemed to have a sense of love and loyalty to his friends and, especially his mother. I got the feeling that the anger and rage he felt in prison did more harm to him in the long run than anything in his early life. The conditions Mr. Rosser details in prison were harsh and inhumane, making it hard to imagine how prisoners coped. However, I think most readers will be happy that Rickie finally decided to let go of all the anger and turn his life towards a new path that involved serving a higher good.

While I thought the author made a complex topic interesting and engaging, I was not too fond of the fact that he continually switched between the past tense and the present in his writing. Since all the events described were in the past, I think sticking with one tense would have made the book sound more polished. It would have provided a better flow for the reader as well. Nevertheless, I think the author provided a compassionate and insightful story of how a man was able to change his life and outlook despite his environment and circumstances.

Reviewed By:

Author Rosser McDonald
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 212 pages
Publisher Elm Hill
Publish Date 19-May-2020
ISBN 9781400330348
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue November 2021
Category Mystery, Crime & Thriller