Since 2013, Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and host of The Chris Hedges Report, has taught college courses in drama, literature, philosophy, and history at East Jersey State Prison (aka “Rahway”) and other New Jersey prisons. In one such course, after reading plays by Amiri Baraka and August Wilson, among others, Hedges’ students wrote a play of their own. The play, “Caged,” would eventually be published and performed at The Passage Theatre in Trenton, New Jersey, for a month-long run in 2018 to sold-out audiences. In his latest book, “Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison,” Hedges chronicles the journey he and his class embarked on together. Joining Mansa Musa on Rattling the Bars, Hedges speaks about his book and the transformations he witnessed among the men he taught behind prison walls.
Chris Hedges is the former Middle East bureau chief of The New York Times, a Pulitzer Prize winner, and a columnist at ScheerPost. He formerly hosted the program Days of Revolt, produced by TRNN, and currently hosts The Chris Hedges Report. Hedges is the author of several books, including “America: The Farewell Tour”; “American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America,” and “Our Class: Trauma and Transformation in an American Prison.” Read the transcript of this video: https://therealnews.com/chris-hedges-… Pre-Production/Studio/Post-Production: Cameron Granadino
In the conclusion of The Long Road Home, Chris Hedges looks at the numerous hurdles faced by prisoners released into society, the toll of reentry on their families, the importance of educational programs in restoring self-esteem and setting goals, and the difficult process of parole. Hedges begins by speaking with Russ Owen, who spent 32 years in prison, on the day of his release from East Jersey State Prison. Owen, who graduated summa cum laude from Rutgers University and earned a doctorate in Pastoral Care in prison, began work recently as a community organizer with New Jersey Together. He says that although he is free, he struggles to cope with the deep loneliness that defined his life in prison.
Hedges speaks with Russ Owen’s mother, Mae Owen, along with four other former prisoners: Boris Franklin, who spent 11 years in prison; Ron Pierce, who spent 30 years in prison; Robert Luma, whose nickname is Kabir and who spent 16 years in prison; and Thomas Dollard, who spent 30 years in prison. All were Chris’s students in the college degree program offered by Rutgers University to prisoners in the New Jersey State prison system. Collectively, they spent 119 years in prison.
Chris Hedges interviews writers, intellectuals, and dissidents, many banished from the mainstream, in his half-hour show, The Chris Hedges Report. He gives voice to those, from Cornel West and Noam Chomsky to the leaders of groups such as Extinction Rebellion, who are on the front lines of the struggle against militarism, corporate capitalism, white supremacy, the looming ecocide, as well as the battle to wrest back our democracy from the clutches of the ruling global oligarchy.