Rediscovering Mrs. Murphy
Johnny Bates is incarcerated in the minimum-security correctional facility fighting boredom. One day he learns about an injustice that is being visited upon certain convicts in the maximum-security prison by one of the prison guards. Johnny decides he must be the one to right the wrong. To do that, he must return to maximum-security, to the Walls.
Once again in maximum-security, Johnny happily reunites with his old friends from his earlier stay, both convict and guard. He works his way into the place and position he wants and needs in order to complete his mission, while here he learns again the habits of the officers and other convicts and plans the method by which he will put an end to the injustice.
Inside the Walls, a lot has changed and Johnny finds himself violently thrust into the most recent problem confronting inmates as well as the prison administration, the problem of juveniles who've been sentenced as adults. The new trouble does serve to keep the attention of the security staff focused away from Johnny, so although it's a distraction, it's not as bad as it seems at first. As he told the warden, "I'm glad I ain't your biggest problem no more."
Johnny manages to right the wrong, to wreak the kind of justice (punishment) that will be understood and accepted in prison culture, a culture which seems to be slightly out of step with that of free society, but upon closer inspection is frighteningly similar.
The book illustrates that prison is not entirely a war between good (security staff) and bad (convicts), but a way of life with love and hate, fear and humor, and pleasure as well as hard knocks. In prison as well as on the outside, life is what you make of it with the cards you are dealt.
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