They Always Call Us Ladies: Stories from Prison

Jean Harris, Author Scribner Book Company $18.95 (276p) ISBN 978-0-684-18963-5
Harris, who gained notoriety when convicted of murdering Dr. Herman Tarnower in the 1980 ``Scarsdale Diet case'' and who wrote a defense of herself in Stranger in Two Worlds , is serving a 15-year-to-life sentence at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility in Westchester, New York. This log is marred by a self-pitying tone and a shapeless narrative structure as she takes up the cause of prison reform. Her account of her work in the prison children's center and gritty portraits of fellow inmates are interspersed with a sometimes horrific history of Bedford Hills and the U.S. prison system. This muffled cry from hell leaves little doubt that Bedford Hillsand most other women's prisons in the U.S.is a human warehouse that further degrades inmates instead of redirecting their lives. In Harris's depiction, mental illness, drugs and racism are epidemic at the facility, which is woefully unequipped to handle an onslaught of AIDS cases. (September)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
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