The World Calls It a Prison Town—And I Call It Home

A 20-Year Resident of Folsom, the Town Johnny Cash Made Famous, Reflects on the Relationship Between the Community and Its Prisons

 learned Johnny Cash songs because of my own frequent imprisonment in the backseat of the family station wagon. Dad played all the Man in Black’s hits on the Chevy’s 8-track. “A Boy Named Sue” probably made the most lasting impression on me, but I also learned, among other lessons, that there is no despair quite so dark as being stuck in Folsom Prison.

Otherwise, I never gave much thought to the place until the day my parents announced we were moving from the Bay Area to Folsom.

“The place with the prison?” …

What I Learned From Being Sent to County Jail | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

What I Learned From Being Sent to County Jail

The Realities Are Different From Prison—And Here’s Why That Matters

ust before I started graduate school, I was arrested and spent a night in jail. I wrote in my journal about the experience, but I put it behind me and …