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The Life Sentences of Rik McWhinney (Regina Collection #19)

The Life Sentences of Rik McWhinney (Regina Collection #19)

Current price: $21.95
Publication Date: October 8th, 2022
University of Regina Press
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Rik McWhinney spent thirty-four years and four months in Canada's federal penitentiaries--sixteen of those in solitary confinement. His incarceration began in the 1970s, as a system-wide war was raging over the implementation of penal reforms. Though he was physically confrontational during the early years of his imprisonment, resulting in his segregation and medical torture, McWhinney eventually turned to writing to combat the conditions of his confinement.

The Life Sentences of Rik McWhinney collects his poetry, essays, grievance forms, letters, and interviews to provide readers with insight into the everyday life of incarcerated individuals, amplifying the lives and voices of a demographic that society would rather ignore. McWhinney relays the horrors of solitary confinement and provides a vivid account of the violence and psychological turmoil that he endured while incarcerated.

Ultimately, McWhinney's words are an indictment of the prison system, a system that institutionalizes individuals, subjecting them to an environment that manufactures post-traumatic stress rather than fulfilling its mission of rehabilitation and reform.

About the Author

Jason Demers is an assistant professor in the Department of English at the University of Regina. He resides in Regina, Saskatchewan.