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Literature: The Lock and Key

The prisoner’s imagination often pens journals, stories, letters, poems, or legal briefs. Writing has the power to enhance critical thinking, afford solace, and refine itself through practice. These writings might later become the currency of betrayal, confiscation, retribution, surveillance, damning evidence, and even result in further confinement. When perceived as a crime or safety risk, writing becomes a subversion, a threat. Simultaneously, the official written rules and decisions of a prison can appropriate, deform, and obfuscate language for control and institutional gain. This panel will discuss how the power of writing is used in prison to both liberate and oppress.

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