First of all, there were many subjects that I wanted to touch on for this facilitation, but I chose the two that I liked the most because they tied together so well.
While I was reading the first few pages of the assigned reading, something that Newton said right away caught my eye. On page 140, Newton says, “Prison is being entrapped by those self-destructive ways of thinking.” What I got from this section/quote is that prison makes the prisoners believe that they are naturally horrible people, but that is not true in many/most cases. These people go and are sent to prison for their wrongdoings and bad choices, but that does not mean that they are wrong or bad people based on what they do or the choices they make. When they come and live their lives in prison with this mindset, they are preparing themselves for an insecure and dark future. Instead, of putting themselves down so much, they should believe that they can change themselves and the reputation they left in the world. Newton said that he started to believe in himself and that led him to believe and know that he can be and do better. I believe that in this same chapter, Newton also says something along the lines of, “...we can free ourselves anytime psychologically…”. This is so true. It is totally up to us to pick and choose what kind of mood we will have, what we believe, and how we will live in the present which will lead to the future. In my life, I have done several things that weren't caused by the best choices and they affected, not only myself, but my family and those around me emotionally. Of course the situation comes back and haunts me every so often, I choose to believe that even though what happened was partially my fault, I am not a horrible person because of it. This situation has only led to a more meaningful growth in my life. This same growth and impact can happen in prisoners if they choose to believe that they are better than what they chose to do. This happened to Newton when he chose to believe in himself and started learning about Shakespeare.
Pages 141-142 of the book say, “Newton’s enthusiasm for Shakespeare was becoming contagious throughout the prison population. ‘You can catch Shakespeare like a bad bug,’ One prisoner told me, ‘and you just can’t shake it.’ We received permission from the prison administration to begin circulating a weekly Shakespeare Newsletter, introducing more than two thousand maximum - security prisoners to the plays of Shakespeare”. It says that the love of Shakespeare was quite contagious in the prison which mean that prisoners were being influenced by the love and passion Newton and the others had for it. With this quote, a ton of different questions and opinions of human beings went floating in my head. Can prisoners live better lives and leave a good influence on the rest of the prisoners and continue to do so in the world? Can prisoners end up living/learning better lives than the rest of us who haven't broken the law. If so, do you believe it is fair?