By the Elsinore Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice
September 10, 2019
Life Sentences: Writings from Inside an American Prison is a collection of poetry and prose by six incarcerated men, a hybrid of prison memoir, philosophy, history, policy document, and manifesto. The six authors—Fly, Faruq, Khalifa, Malakki, Oscar, and Shawn—met at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh and came together in 2013 to form the Elsinore Bennu Think Tank for Restorative Justice. The men met weekly for years, along with writers, activists, and political leaders, and bonded over the creation of this book.
Centered around the principles of restorative justice, which aims to heal communities broken by criminal and state violence through collective action, Life Sentences is more than a literary collection. It is also a how‑to guide for those who are trapped inside any community and a letter of invitation, asking readers to join with the incarcerated and their families so we can all continue to fly over walls, form loving connections with each other, and teach one another to be free.
Featuring an introduction by Amber Epps (sister of Oscar) and an afterword by novelist John Edgar Wideman (brother of Faruq)
*A portion of the proceeds from this book will support the organization's community outreach and criminal justice reform efforts.