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When someone tells you so-and-so was in prison what does your mind immediately do? It classifies that person. I believe everyone in the world automatically does this on an involuntary level. But then what? If it's someone you've known for a while and just found out they were in prison what stigma do you attach to that? Dig down deep inside and give yourself a truthful answer. Is that someone suddenly a bad person? Would you read a book by that person or want to associate with them? I can only speak for myself. I'd like to get an outside opnion.
color=blue]-- Inquiring minds want to know --[/color]
 

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Let's just say if I decided to give him a chance, I would keep my purse locked up, 911 on speed-dial, and never leave him alone with my kids or grandkids.  It wouldn't matter when it came to deciding to buy a book.  A book can't bite me.
 

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A lot depends on *why* they were in prison and for how long. Generally speaking, I would be very wary and it would hard to trust them or let them back into my life. I would also be afraid that they were going to be part of the revolving door of recidivism and that it was likely just a matter of time before they were imprisoned again.

Reading the book would have nothing to do with the person, but the subject matter of the book and how much it interested me.
 

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Hi,

There's a huge difference between reading a book by an ex-inmate and having something to do with them.

As far as the personal stuff goes, I suppose if I knew them first and then found out they'd been in prison I'd be a little more worried about them than I had been before, assuming I had been of course, and the first thing I' ask was what for and how long. Then it would vary. There are some crimes, rape, murder etc that would make me very worried. Others such as tax evasion which probably wouldn't concern me overly much.

On the reading a book though, that's a different story. There are whole bunches of people who view ex-prisoners as cause celebes (apologies for the spelling - my keyboard and I don't do French). Can you imagine how a book by say Bonnie and Clyde would be snapped off the shelf. In this case it works the other way around. The more gory, violent and disgusting the better. Grief there are women who marry serial killers in jail, - and for the most part they didn't know them before. As it happens a little notoriety is a good thing for an author.

Cheers, Greg.
 

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psychotick said:
There's a huge difference between reading a book by an ex-inmate and having something to do with them.
This. I read James Ellroy's autobiography, back before it came out. Guy's a creep with a really sordid past and some... extreme views. I've met him. I wouldn't want to share an elevator with him, let alone have any more sustained interaction with him.

But his books, at least the earlier ones, are pretty damned good, and I don't let his myriad personal problems interfere with my enjoyment of them.

And he did do time in jail, FWIW, for, I believe, robbery.
 

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I think Nelson Mandella is pretty awesome.

The "justice" system in a lot of countries—and most particularly America—is less fair and honest than one might wish for.

Add to that the fact that some people reform while inside. (More in spite of, rather than because of their imprisonment . . .)

In short: I'd give the person the chance they deserved. If they were interesting I'd get to know their story. If their book sounded interesting, I'd read it.
 

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James Ellroy being in jail -- couldn't care less.  James Ellroy saying that he has spent a lot of his life lusting after his mother -- yuck.

I took guardianship of two children that had fathers in prison.  One was sentenced to over a hundred years (out in 18).  One was sentenced to about seventy-five (out in about 12).  I was court-ordered to bring the kids to see their fathers in maximum security prisons (stupid!!)  I refused to bring the girl (she was old enough to be uncomfortable and had been through enough), brought the boy for about four years (from the time he was a few months old until he was about four), then he decided he didn't want to go and I stopped.  The judge(s) backed me up.

The one with the hundred (plus) year sentence escaped and we were put in hiding for a while.  There was lots of drama and dysfunction around all of it.  Not just with the guys in prison, but with their families and with the kids mother (they are half brother/sister).

My opinion of people that have spent time in prison is not positive.  

I have spent a lot of time around such people -- and there is always the exception that makes the rule -- but I find them to be less than positive people.  It would also depend on their crime.  You go to prison for smoking weed -- I couldn't care less and wouldn't hold it against you.  You go to prison for raping a child -- I have no use for you.

Would I buy a book written by someone in prison?  Not if I knew it had been written while they were in prison.

Would I buy a book that enabled them to profit from their crimes?  Nope.

Would I buy a book on a totally different subject if the person had been out of prison for a while or had been in prison for something I consider benign?  Maybe.

Sheila
 

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Quote from: brendajcarlton on Today at 01:15:02 PM

Let's just say if I decided to give him a chance, I would keep my purse locked up, 911 on speed-dial, and never leave him alone with my kids or grandkids.

So, you'd decide the person was male then?
I was just going with the higher statistical probability. But I would have the same response (Err on the side of caution) for a female. They can be just as dangerous. I am not a believer in the theory that everyone will be nice if I am just nice to them first. No one who believes that went to my high school.
 

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I'm with Monique too, and I actually do know someone like that - someone I saw around in a particular environment and later found out had been in prison. I avoid him and the more I've heard as time passes, the more I think that's smart. And he was in for white collar crime.

Reading a book by a bad guy? Probably I'd never know as I'm not one of those who likes to know much about authors other than I like what they write.
 

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What about Martha Stewart? I don't hate her because she was in prison but because she keeps making me look bad.  ;D

Anyway, "why" is the big questions. When I was young I knew a young man who had been in prison for a short time on drug charges. By the time I knew him he had married, had a son, and put the other things behind him. He was a fantastic person, and at the time, I had a "girl" crush on him. He reminded me of Boz Scaggs a bit.

So, yeah, you can't just lump everybody together.
 
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Can't say exactly how I'd treat someone who had served time in prison.  I guess it depends on the person and what our relationship is (work, church, business, personal, etc).  If I had to interact with them face to face, I'd certainly err on the side of caution.

As for books written by inmates / former inmates, I'd definitely give it a shot.  I volunteer as a slush reader at a semi-pro sf&f magazine, and some of our most interesting stories come from prison.
 

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brendajcarlton said:
Let's just say if I decided to give him a chance, I would keep my purse locked up, 911 on speed-dial, and never leave him alone with my kids or grandkids. It wouldn't matter when it came to deciding to buy a book. A book can't bite me.
So you're assuming anybody who's been in prison is both a thief and a child molestor. Interesting.
 

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R.L. Kiser said:
When someone tells you so-and-so was in prison what does your mind immediately do? It classifies that person. I believe everyone in the world automatically does this on an involuntary level. But then what? If it's someone you've known for a while and just found out they were in prison what stigma do you attach to that? Dig down deep inside and give yourself a truthful answer. Is that someone suddenly a bad person? Would you read a book by that person or want to associate with them? I can only speak for myself. I'd like to get an outside opnion.
-- Inquiring minds want to know --
The answers to your questions are very revealing, but I'm still trying to figure out what your link has to do with it. I got the impression there would something relevant there, but it appears your only interest in posting this thread is to lure people to your sales site. Deceptive advertising? Kind of ironic given the topic.
 

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Would depend on a lot of things. Why was she in prison? Do I know the case? Was she guilty? (Some people who had been imprisoned for over fifteen years had to be let go when DNA evidence proved they couldn't have been guilty.)

Even if she was guilty, she has paid her debt to society and deserves another chance.
I would be on guard though — and yes, I call that a prejudice.

As for would I buy her book? It doesn't matter either way.
It's just that I'm not very interested in the subjects Martha Stewart writes about.
 

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When someone says "Bill just got out of prison."  My first reaction regardless of the cause is "Ugh" and "Untrustworthy".  After that it generally gets worse as more details come out.  People don't go to prison for doing nice things.  Even the most benign reasons for getting in trouble will reflect on their poor judgement skills.
 

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On my opinion of them:

Well my first question is was it a violent crime or non-violent crime?
I would be more at ease with someone who committed fraud vs someone who attacked another person.
But the truth is that it really doesn't matter.
I would judge them and negatively at that. I wouldn't care if I knew them at one point.
The person you knew years ago is gone and the crimes they committed has changed them or at the least the stay prison has changed them too.
I can't imagine either of these circumstances having a positive change on anyone.

EDIT: Whoops got carried away and didn't answer the question. Honestly I could care less about the personal life of the author of a book. Wouldn't sway me from buying or not buying a book. When it comes to the personal life of authors I feel like this is one of the few professions in which it really shouldn't matter. Unless of course using the knowledge to write crime stories I guess.

 

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George Berger said:
This. I read James Ellroy's autobiography, back before it came out. Guy's a creep with a really sordid past and some... extreme views. I've met him. I wouldn't want to share an elevator with him, let alone have any more sustained interaction with him.

But his books, at least the earlier ones, are pretty damned good, and I don't let his myriad personal problems interfere with my enjoyment of them.

And he did do time in jail, FWIW, for, I believe, robbery.
The only risk you might have with regard to sharing an elevator would be if he broke wind. (and tried to blame you for it.) I met him in the eighties well before his current success - he was still flogging the Black Dahlia around. He had a deal but was looking to upgrade. An insecure yet bombastic little guy who - contrary to contrived reputation - read every bestselling new release. He had something negative to say about all of them. Nothing menacing about him, no muscle tone, no bulk, no threat. Just vulgar, crude, and sleazy - with a mouth on steroids. His criminal history was for petty theft, not violence.
 
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