Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Conrad Black Begins His Second year in Prison Today

He has 6 ½ years to serve and his second year behind walls and bars at Coleman Florida’s federal prison begins today March 4th. It’s located near Disney World but this is not a kids’ ride.

Fortunately for him he is contained in the low security segment for non-violent crime designated inmates. Incarcerated for a money crime, how paradoxical is it that this wealthy man is allowed no money within the system. He wears the olive green shirt and pressed slacks of all inmates and stands out from the pack with his intellect.

Those of us who did not know him personally but followed his life and times online or in print knew that given his drive, he would predictably turn this horrific life stage into something productive. One could have put money on the likelihood of him writing a book or two while locked up. He has done that. His publisher already has a manuscript describing his trial and initiation into prison life. It is expected that he will also write one about life within the Coleman prison. The National Post carries an article by him almost every weekend.

Peter Worthington who visited Conrad in prison for a lengthy interview believes that Black has discovered a new side to himself which is teaching others. He prepares lessons and he gives lectures on history and politics to anyone, inmates and staff alike. He finds his fellow inmates interesting and it appears they like him. Some of them like Black are educated men who held responsible and productive roles in society.

He is also taking piano lessons, Worthington informed us and according to Black this is his personal response to his mother who refused to allow him to take lesson when he was a child.

With his ability to research he will undoubtedly make comment sometime about the U.S. justice system which he observes to have serious faults and that doesn’t relate solely to his case. The U.S. has seven times more prisoners than other countries, numbering about two million people in federal, state and private prisons. That is 25% of the world’s prison population and it has escalated exponentially within the past thirty years. It is the reasons for this which are so important to discover and explain. After Worthington visited Black he offered the opinion that “Prison reform in the U.S. is a cause waiting to be discovered.”

Worthington quotes Black. "Yes, time is strange here," says Conrad. "You lose track of days and dates, and they all blend together."

See the Worthington Interview article on McLean’s online magazine from which information for this blog was adapted.

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