Downy woodpecker, December 2014, Sunderland, MA.
“My hero was Joseph Mitchell, that was how you did reporting. There was nothing conniving about it or cunning — you just simply kept returning and kept returning.”
“They throw them out of here with a mentality that they were mistreated, because of the conditions they was exposed to in solitary confinement.The system creates the monsters we have out here on the streets in Newark, New Jersey. There’s no doubt that’s a contributing factor. It’s a public health issue.”
I spoke with some former prison inmates about their time in “ad seg.”
LAUREL HILL juts out of a swamp, dark and craggy, between the Hackensack River and the Turnpike. The igneous rock outcropping likely came from the same geologic event that created the Palisades to its east. In the low-lying basin of the Meadowlands, it’s the tallest structure that’s not a capped landfill or a radio tower. It’s also been called “Fraternity Rock” because of its reputation as a place that college kids would climb to drink beer and paint graffiti on its face. But it’s probably still better known by its old name: Snake Hill.
This is among my favorite things I’ve ever written.