American prison systems may be shifting away from warehousing towards prisoner rehabilitation. California’s corrections policy, for example, has changed dramatically in response to a variety of pressures budgetary, operational and judicial. What might such changes mean for prisoner rehabilitation and the chances of formerly incarcerated persons leading meaningful, contributing lives? This is an exploratory essay on the possibility of a formerly incarcerated person finding himself through prison work. My primary concern is with understanding and utilizing current shifts in correctional philosophies and practices to create healing alternatives and a more inclusive justice, one with room for my own healing. I pursue this inquiry through the use of an autoethnographic approach to legal storytelling.
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