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The Sun Magazine

Culture and Society

Incarceration

The Dog-Eared Page

The Cell Door Closes

It is a unique sound. A cell door has no handle, either outside or inside. It cannot be shut except by being slammed. It is made of massive steel and concrete, about four inches thick, and every time it falls to there is a resounding crash just as though a shot has been fired. But this report dies away without an echo. Prison sounds are echoless and bleak.

Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Undue Familiarity

She neglects to mention the coins that dot the walkway in front of the prison’s main doors. As you leave, you bend over for a penny and discover the coin is sticky with ejaculate. Cheers and howls erupt from the many floors above your head, and more coins rain down, along with obscene invitations. You drop the penny and wipe your fingers on your pants, but the damage is done. They now have your measure.

Quotations

Sunbeams

The county jail looked like a tall, forbidding elementary school. Seven stories of dirty-brown brick, one hundred years old and now operating at 330 percent of capacity.

Richard Price