Section 1: Violence Before Incarceration

Date01 May 2022
Published date01 May 2022
Journal of Contemporary Criminal Justice
2022, Vol. 38(2) 160 –161
© The Author(s) 2022
Article reuse guidelines:
DOI: 10.1177/10439862221096894
Section 1: Violence Before
My Story, by Jana Bergman
A Prodigal Son? by Virgil Lee Hawks
Conditioned Emotional Response, by Shon Pernice
Violence and Prison, by Patrick J. Pantusco
Scar’d Up but Still Goin’, by Jessi Fernandez
I Did Not Know I Would Be Forever Labelled “Violent” by Quintin Williams
Brothers in Solidarity, by Charles Tooker
Return to Shelton, by Demetrius Morgan with David Lovell
Introduction to Section 1
People who have been around the corrections system get used to the fact that violence
is a more or less universal life experience for everyone touched by the penal system.
While living in death row, Jarvis Jay Masters noticed how many of the people sur-
rounding him had grown up in the face of violence, just as he had. It became the sub-
ject of his award-winning essay on prison tattoos (Sheff 2018). In the foreword to his
monumental study of people in their first year of reentry from prison, Bruce Western
(2018) remarks on how most of the people in his study had either been involved in a
killing, personally seen one, or had a loved one who was killed. A person might make
the same observation about corrections officers. There can be no getting around the
fact that violence is a seminal experience for those who end up in prison—living there,
for sure, or working there, as well.
In this, the opening section of the special issue, authors explore violence outside of
prison life, often with an eye to the way prison life reflects it. Jana Bergman, in “My
Story,” provides the longest essay in this issue. It is a heart-rending tale, chilling to
read. In “A Prodigal Son?” Virgil Lee Hawks tells his life story—also one of violence
and abuse—and ends by asking, “Will I ever get my chance of a normal life, even for
a little while?” In “Conditioned Emotional Response,” Shon Pernice describes how his
life as an army medic during war became the foundation for his violent acts when he
returned home. Patrick Pancuso, in “Prisons and Violence,” links the violence people
experience before incarceration to the violence of prison and prescribes education as a
1096894CCJXXX10.1177/10439862221096894Journal of Contemporary Criminal JusticeSection 1

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