Death Row Chaplain

Death Row Chaplain

Unbelievable True Stories From America's Most Notorious Prison

Book - 2015
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From a former criminal and now chaplain for the San Francisco 49ers and the Golden State Warriors, comes a riveting, behind-the-bars look at one of America's most feared prisons: San Quentin. Reverend Earl Smith shares the most important lessons he's learned from years of helping inmates discover God's plan for them.
Publisher: New York : Howard Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc., c2015.
Edition: First Howard Books hardcover edition.
ISBN: 9781476777771
Characteristics: xiv, 242 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Additional Contributors: Schlabach, Mark 1972-


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Oct 30, 2015

Whether you share Smith's fundamentalist Christian faith, or none at all, this partly-ghost written book provides a fascinating glimpse into a world we rarely see. Once his own life as a drug user and dealer is turned around, he knows he must work as a chaplain at San Quentin. He begins with distributing Christmas cards to inmates to send to those on the outside. Then he finds ways to really connect to the men. Some involve overcoming the barriers of segregation by race, gang membership, etc. His first "simple" way of doing this is by playing chess with one inmate at a time. This unites all the inmates against himself, since they root for his opponent to beat him. When that works, he looks for ways that the inmates can cooperate across the usual barriers. Baseball teams and Gospel choirs allow inmates to hone skills they may not have known they had, and to demonstrate to those on the outside that they are persons of value. Flat writing, but a very interesting topic.

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